How Do Tarantulas Mate?

The process of tarantula mating is a bit complex and interesting. Here’s a brief outline:

  1. Mature Males: Males will start the process once they’ve reached sexual maturity. This is indicated by a final molt, during which they grow specialized structures called tibial hooks on their front legs, and bulbous organs (pedipalps) used to transfer sperm.

  2. Sperm Web: The male tarantula will create a sperm web, onto which he’ll deposit sperm. He then puts this sperm into his pedipalps, the specialized organs mentioned above.

  3. Finding a Mate: The male will set off in search of a female. This might involve roaming far and wide.

  4. Courting: Once a male finds a female’s burrow, he must carefully signal to her that he is a mate, not a meal. This is usually done through specific vibrations or tapping rhythms communicated through the female’s silk webbing. If the female is receptive, she will come out of her burrow or will respond with signals of acceptance.

  5. Mating: The male will use his tibial hooks to hold the female’s fangs, preventing her from being able to bite him. He then uses his pedipalps to deposit the sperm into a special structure on the female’s abdomen known as the epigyne. The whole process is quite risky for the male, as he needs to escape immediately after the act to avoid getting eaten by the female.

  6. After Mating: If mating is successful, the female will later lay eggs and fertilize them with the stored sperm. She’ll spin a silk sac to contain and protect the eggs. After some weeks or months, the eggs will hatch into spiderlings.

For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories. – Plato