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Orb-web spider mating

The mature males hover on the periphery of the female's web, waiting, attracted by her "scent" up to two moults before she reaches maturity.

It is first during the opening phase of the female's maturation moult that the male approaches close to the her. He begins to copulate with her during the moulting process, before she has pulled her legs out of the old cast. This behavior has the advantage that, due to the defenseless condition of the female, it protects the male from being eaten. After mating the male beats a hasty retreat.

Once free of her old skin, the spider hangs, waiting for her new cuticle to harden. Next she does gymnastics to keep her joints from stiffening up.



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