Arachnophobes beware: Researchers have discovered a male spider in the Judean foothills of Israel with a sadistic sexual perversion. Males of the aptly named __Harpactea sadistica__ spider jab their spiked copulatory organs into the body walls of female spiders to inject their sperm and outcompete rival males -- an arachnid first, according to a study published online tomorrow (Apr. 29) in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Image: Milan Řezáč
Stabbing sex, also known as traumatic insemination, is common among many hermaphrodite species as well as some insects with separate sexes, most famously the bed bug. But it has never before been observed in other arthropods. "Now we have a very odd biological phenomenon in an unrelated taxonomic group," Mike Siva-Jothy, a Sheffield University evolutionary physiologist who studies bed bugs and was not involved in the study, told __The Scientist__. "It's like finding a peacock's tail in a...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?