Tetragnatha spider

The story of a male spider looking for a mate.


Picture yourself by a river, sitting in a willow tree.

You’re a male spider, a long-jawed orb weaver. Slowly strolling through the branches and leaves, you stumble upon a silken thread. Your acute sense of smell cannot be fooled, this is from a female of your species! You hurry up and go upthread, the smell getting fresher. If the female is mature, it will be a mating! If not, it will be a meal.

After a hike of several meters, you arrive at the edge of the web. In your species, there’s no courtship, just prudence. If the female doesn’t chase you away, you will initiate the mating. And that is where the long jaw comes in handy. That is also where you get your latin name, Tetragnatha, meaning four teeth. For additional teeth on your jaws, allowing you to lock with the jaws of the female, and avoid being eaten. A dangerous venture, but what else is there in the life of a male spider?


Adams, S.A. et al. (2021) ‘Chemical Species Recognition in a Tetragnatha Spider (Araneae: Tetragnathidae)’, Journal of Chemical Ecology, 47(1), pp. 63–72. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-020-01237-8.

Baba, Y.G. et al. (2018) ‘Dead or alive? Sexual conflict and lethal copulatory interactions in long-jawed Tetragnatha spiders’, Behavioral Ecology [Preprint]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ary125.