'Kinky' male spiders tie up partners to avoid being eaten

Nursery-web spiders believed to be only species to practise safe-sex bondage

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Male Spiders Tie Up Sexual Partners To Prevent Cannibalism

Lots of couples enjoy a bit of bondage in the bedroom - but for one species of spider, tying up their mate is a serious matter. Get it wrong, and it could mean instant death.

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The male Nursery-web spider restrains its female partner to avoid being eaten by her, according to scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

They found that the male of the species (Pisaurina mira) have longer front legs than the female, which allows them to spin silken ropes to restrain their partner before and during copulation. Those that did this were less likely to be cannibalised.

Researchers also noted that the males who managed to restrain their female partners also achieved "more insertions" - and thus increase the chances of successful fertilization.

Many female spiders have an appetite for more than sex, and will devour their partner once the deed is done. According to experts, a female mother-to-be spider sees her partner's value shift from a sexual mate to dinner when she has eggs to nourish.

Some species of male spider play dead or sedate their partner to avoid becoming a post-coital snack. Other species seek out and mate with females who are already busy scoffing their earlier sex partners - hoping they don't become the next Happy meal on legs.

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