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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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ScienceShot: Cowardly Spider Can Inseminate Female From Afar
31 January 2012 7:02 pm
The orb-web spider Nephilengys malabarensis is into rough sex. So rough that, in order to avoid being eaten alive (as shown in the photo), the male will often voluntarily break off his whole sex organ, or palp, while it's still lodged in the female's abdomen (red box in photo), living out the rest of his life as an eunuch. Now a group of researchers think they know why evolution has allowed this dead-end dad to survive. They collected 25 pairs of spiders and introduced them to one another. After each pair had mated and the male's palp was left in the female, the researchers dissected the female and counted the sperm in her abdomen and the amount remaining in the embedded palp. That organ, they report online today in Biology Letters, continues to transfer sperm into the female long after the male has fled or been consumed. The longer it's embedded, the more sperm it transfers, and it's even more efficient when the male breaks it off himself to run away, rather than letting the female do it while eating him. So for the male, it's a sacrifice worth making.
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