The discovery that nephila spiders demonstrate heterospecific sexual behavior has been recently become known to researchers from Slovenia and South Africa. Heterospecific sexual behavior is extremely rare in arachnids, and such behavior is never expected from a species that practiced cannibalism.
One theory for the nephila spider’s deviant sexual behavior could be explained by the male nephila spider’s inability to properly discern a mate from his species versus a female from another species. So, the males could just have really bad eyesight.
The researchers first became suspicious of the nephila spider’s sexual behavior once they took notice of several different species of male spider caught in the female nephila spider’s web. This must feel humiliating to the suitors that did not receive exactly what they expected out of the cross-species hook-up. Researchers believe that the cross-species mating could contribute to the well being of their collective colony.
Would physically larger females that belong to a different species of spider feel instinctually less inclined to mate or consume a smaller male from an unrecognizable and different species?