A team of researchers working in Madagascar have discovered a species of spider that engages in oral sex.
Female spiders aren’t known for their romantic proclivities when it comes to attracting, and keeping, a mate. In fact, after mating, most male spiders run the risk of being turned into a post-coital meal, either for a hungry female or for the next generation.
But a species of spider in Madagascar known as Darwin’s bark spider has revealed a more tender, kinkier, side.
In a paper published in Scientific Reports, scientists have discovered that male Caerostris Darwins – who produces some of the world’s largest known orb webs – willingly perform cunnilingus, or oral sex, on the female both before and after copulation.
The discovery came after a research team led by Matjaž Gregorič from the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts spent two weeks monitoring the behaviour of the arachnid while on a field trip at Madagascar’s Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.
While studying sexual dimorphism in amongst Darwin’s bark spiders, Gregorič and his team discovered that all male samples would perform oral sex acts on the females.
To achieve this intimate act, the male would hook one of his on to the female’s copulatory opening before turning his body perpendicular to hers where he would then start secreting fluids from his mouth into her genitals.
“Oral sexual contact seems to be an obligate sexual behaviour in this species as all males did it before, in between, and after copulations, even up to 100 times,” explains Gregorič.
While cunnilingus seemed to play a significant part of the mating ritual, Gregorič and his researchers have yet to confirm why the male was so keen on performing oral sex on the female.
However, they do have their theories.
One is that it acts as a relaxing technique, calming the female down and even as a preventative from being eaten post copulation. Another is that it signals the quality of the potential male partner, and reduces sperm competition with chemicals that favour one male’s sperm over that of another.
Written by: Benjamen Judd
Published: 3rd, 2016
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