Sexual size dimorphism and reproductive investment by female spiders

A comparative analysis

John Prenter*, Robert W. Elwood, W. Ian Montgomery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the association between female reproductive investment, absolute size, and sexual size dimorphism in spiders to test the predictions of the fecundity-advantage hypothesis. The relationships between absolute size and sexual size dimorphism and aspects of female reproductive output are examined in comparative analyses using phylogenetically independent contrasts. We provide support for the idea that allometry for sexual dimorphism is the result of variation in female size more so than male size. Regression analyses suggest selection for increased fecundity in females. We argue that fecundity selection provides the only general explanation for the evolution of sexual size dimorphism in spiders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1987-1994
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


  • Allometry
  • Araneae
  • Body size
  • Clutch size
  • Comparative analysis
  • Female reproductive output
  • Life history
  • Phylogeny
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Spiders

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