Researchers have found that the activity keeps females happy; they're more likely to mate and less likely to attack males when they're finally ready for sex. But foreplay may come with a cost for males. As the team reports online this month in Ethology, males that invest a lot of effort in fooling around with females may end up exhausted and thus less competitive when they need to fight rivals for a mate. So, at least for male spiders, foreplay doesn't always pay off.
Jonathan N. Pruitt1, Gordon M. Burghardt2,3, Susan E. Riechert2. Non-Conceptive Sexual Behavior in Spiders: A Form of Play Associated with Body Condition, Personality Type, and Male Intrasexual Selection