“Spiders reproduce sexually and fertilization is internal but indirect, in other words the sperm is not inserted into the female’s body by the male’s genitals but by an intermediate stage. Unlike many land-living arthropods, male spiders do not produce ready-made spermatophores (packages of sperm) but spin small sperm webs on to which they ejaculate and then transfer the sperm to syringe-like structures on the tips of their pedipalps. When a male detects signs of a female nearby he checks whether she is of the same species and whether she is ready to mate; for example in species that produce webs or “safety ropes”, the male can identify the species and sex of these objects by “smell”.”
Depending on the kind of spider, the pre-mating courtship may differ, though it usually consists of some sort of dance.
The mating itself involves the insertion of the male’s pedipalps (the pincer-like things on the spider’s face) into the female’s genital structure (called an epigynum). The ends of his pedipalps are bulbous in structure, and once they have been inserted, he expells the sperm. This process can vary in time from a couple of seconds to several hours. Afterwards, if the male does not die, become weakened, or try to mate again, some species of spiders will smear an “epigynal plug” secretion over the opening to prevent the female from mating again.
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