Male tarantulas mature when they are 10 to 12 years of age, at which time they leave their burrows in search of females. Upon finding the burrow of a mature female—she’s usually at least 10 years old—the male will announce himself by stroking the silk at the top of the burrow and tapping particular sequences that the female responds to. During mating, the male must reach under the female to insert his pedipalp into her gonopore to deposit sperm. He is particularly vulnerable to predation by the female when mating. The male’s first pair of legs has a “spur”located behind the knee which he uses to hold the female above him during copulation. After copulation the male makes a hasty retreat. The female lays her eggs in a burrow, sometimes staying with them. The young remain in the burrow until they disperse.
Each time a female tarantula molts, typically once a year, she also molts the lining of her epigynum (the female reproductive structure) where the sperm are stored, so she must mate again before she can produce fertile eggs. The many tarantulas seen on the roads in Arizona during the summer rains (July, August, September) are usually males searching for mates. The male tarantula does not survive long after his summer mating. Sometimes the female makes a meal of the male, or another predator kills him. Sometimes he dies of exposure to heat and cold. Even in captivity, out of harm’s way, males only survive a few months after mating.
Read more about this topic: Aphonopelma Chalcodes
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