New publication: Differential oxidative costs of locomotory and genital damage in an orb-weaving spider

In animals that regularly experience tissue loss, physiological responses may have evolved to overcome the related costs. Changes in oxidative status may reflect such self-maintenance mechanisms. Here, we investigated how markers of oxidative status varied in female orb-weaving spiders (Larinia jeskovi) by mimicking two distinct types of tissue loss they may naturally encounter: damage to their locomotory system and damage to their external genital structure (scapus), as inflicted by males during copulation (external female genital mutilation). Damage to the locomotory system resulted in a significant shift in the oxidative status reflecting investment into self-maintenance. In contrast, the loss of the scapus did not result in quantitative changes of oxidative markers. This lack of a physiological response suggests negligible physiological costs of genital mutilation for female spiders. A possible cost of genital mutilation may be preventing females from remating with other males.

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