You’ve probably heard some smarm-ball come out with the cheese-tastic line ‘I’m a lover not a fighter’ at some point in your life, even if it’s just a character on a lame television sitcom. Well according to a study from the National University of Singapore and the investigations of Discover Magazine – there is a spider that castrates himself in order to become both. Hmmm, this story definitely calls for an epic WTF!
You would be completely forgiven for wondering how in the hell the castration of genitals could possibly help the male Nephilengys malabarensis spider be a better lover, but apparently if he snaps off his penis during intercourse then the detached penis can continue to pump sperm into the female and he has a better chance of fertilizing her! Man, Mother Nature is twisted!
Apparently sacrificing his penis means not only does the male spider have a better chance of surviving intercourse with the female, (they have a penchant for cannibalism and there is a 75% chance she will turn on the male and attempt to gobble him up during sex) but it also improves his ability to defend her afterwards.
Not only does the severed penis cock-block any other spiders who want to try and make spider-babies with her. Apparently losing his appendage also increases the male spiders’ stamina and makes him a much better fighter. A contradiction in terms you might think, but apparently that’s just the way it is in spider-land.
So this is how it works…The male spider shoot out sperm via a pair of structures on the side of their heads called palps. Daiqin Li from the University of Singapore discovered that if both of these palps are detached then the spider is 9% lighter (man that’s a lot of sperm) and had greater endurance.
This was discovered when Li tested the spiders by poking them with a paintbrush and seeing how long it took for them to become so exhausted that they would no longer scurry away from the prodding.
With both palps still intact and bustling with sperm, the spiders lasted approximately 16 minutes in the paintbrush battle. With one palp, they lasted an extra 5 minutes (a long time in a spider wars) and with both palps missing they lasted an extraordinary 29 minutes, nearly double the amount of time they could face a foe whilst sperm-laden!
So snapping off his penis inside his female mate not only means that the Nephilengys malabarensis has an opportunity to get out of the danger zone before his misses gets peckish and fancies a mid-sex snack, whilst still being able to sow his wild oats, but it also means that he is then better at defending her honor from other spiders afterwards. So touching…Romeo and Juliet eat your heart out!
I bet you thought humans where the most messed up creatures in the sack, well the Torture Gardens haven’t got shit on the arachnids!!
If I wasn’t glad that I am not a spider before, I certainly am now.
Male spider castrates himself and gets more stamina (Via Discover Magazine)