Sometimes sex just isn’t worth your life.
For male black widow spiders, standing at just a quarter of the size of their mates, sex involves a very real danger: females of the species have no qualms about turning cannibalistic if they’re hungry after getting down and dirty. But it seems that it’s more than just a game of chance for horny male spiders. Researchers at Arizona State University have now learned that simply walking on the webs of female spiders can provide males with chemical cues telling them if their potential mates are ravenous enough to eat them.
Those who say men are dogs may have it all wrong. Male puppies are particularly chivalrous when playing with female puppies, putting themselves in vulnerable positions just to keep the game going, reports a new study in Animal Behavior [pdf]. The young males may be getting a primer in female behavior, which could translate to higher reproductive success later in life.
Researchers videotaped four litters of puppies from different breeds (shepherd mix, Labrador retriever, Doberman pincher and malamute) at play. Even in puppies only a few weeks old, they found a noticeable gender-split in play etiquette. Female puppies mostly sought out other females as play partners. Male puppies, meanwhile, showed less interest in palling around with other males but were especially eager to initiate play with the girls.