Tidarren argo

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Tidarren argo
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae
Family: Theridiidae
Genus: Tidarren
Species:T. argo
Binomial name
Tidarren argo
Knoflach & van Harten 2006

Tidarren argo is a spider from Yemen. The species is remarkable by its male amputating one of its palps before maturation and entering his adult life with one palp only. It adopts exceptional copulatory behaviour: when the male achieves genitalia coupling with his palp, the latter is torn off by the female. The separated gonopod remains attached to the female's epigynum for approximately 4 hours and continues to function independently, serving as a mating plug. While this happens, the female feeds on the male. Emasculation thus synchronizes sexual cannibalism and sperm transfer, lengthening the interval between copulations. This mating behaviour might allow for the continuation of insemination by the dismembered palp. [1]


Gonopods are specialized appendages of various arthropods used in reproduction or egg-laying. In males, they facilitate the transfer of sperm from male to female during mating, and thus are a type of intromittent organ. In crustaceans and millipedes, gonopods are modified walking or swimming legs. Gonopods may be highly decorated with elaborate structures which may play roles in sperm competition, and can be used to differentiate and identify closely related species. Gonopods generally occur in one or more pairs, as opposed to the single (un-paired) reproductive organs such as the aedeagus of insects or the penis of harvestmen.

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Mating plug gelatinous secretion used in the mating of some species

A mating plug, also known as a copulation plug, sperm plug, vaginal plug, sement or sphragis, is gelatinous secretion used in the mating of some species. It is deposited by a male into a female genital tract, such as the vagina, and later hardens into a plug or glues the tract together. While females can expel the plugs afterwards, the male's sperm still gets a time advantage in getting to the egg, which is often the deciding factor in fertilization.


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Display (zoology) form of animal behaviour, linked to survival of the species

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  1. Knoflach, Barbara; van Harten, Antonius (2001). "Tidarren argo sp. nov. (Araneae: Theridiidae) and its exceptional copulatory behaviour: emasculation, male palpal organ as a mating plug and sexual cannibalism". Journal of Zoology. 254 (4): 449–459. doi:10.1017/S0952836901000954. ISSN   0952-8369.

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