Nothing felt during sex - as researchers previously the love life of male spider presented. A new analysis revealed now: Apparently the animals but nerve cells have at their copulatory organ. This has far-reaching consequences.
In the copulatory organ of male spider researchers first identified neurons. Apparently, the males had at least during the breeding influence on their paternity success - and not, as previously thought only the females, report zoologists at the University of Greifswald in the journal "Biology Letters". About the nerve, the animals received during the pairing information about the females and could probably adjust the flow of their ejaculate accordingly. So far, the sexual organs of male animals were all spider species as deaf and insensitive.
The researchers led by the zoologist Elisabeth Lipke had examined Tasmanian Cave Spider (Hickmania troglodytes), one occurring in Australia, palm-sized spider. In 15 000- to 20 000-fold magnification, they analyzed with a so-called transmission electron microscope, the converted to Begattungsorgangen extremities in front body, the pedipalps. "The neurons in the top of the Begattungsorgans control pressure and train and could help the male while to adjust better to the female during mating," said Lipke.
In addition, the researchers demonstrated two glands in the copulatory organ, the Transfer of sperm during copulation apparently play an important role. "Similar to insects the male spider might modify this gland their semen and give extra secretions of the female and thus affect processes in females", suspected Lipke. "Thus, the males could secure the paternity success on the addition of individual secretions."
Spider females often mate with several males, sometimes looking through luxuriant bridal gifts the favor of the elect to secure. For longer Kopulationszeit more sperm are transferred and thus fathered more offspring, so the adoption. The male was doing previously only attributed to a passive role. "Males of Tasmanian Cave Spider obviously have a direct impact on the copulation," says Peter Michalik, Head of the DFG-research project on the evolution of morphology of reproductive organs in spiders and co-author of the study.
The Greifswald researchers succeeded the morphological evidence of nerve tissue - the exact function of the cells must now be analyzed in studies, they write. Open is as if the male of the Tasmanian Cave Spider feel something like fun during sex. Future studies should also show whether there are similar neurons in the copulatory organs of other species of spiders.