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Talk: Fifty Shades of Spider

Thursday 16 March, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

$20.00 – $30.00

Forget the birds and the bees. Ranging from delightful to doom-laden, spider courtship and mating is endlessly fascinating and is the theme of this talk. Like most other animals, spiders need males and females to come together in order to reproduce. It’s tough being a male spider, but I invite you to imagine being one.  Pretend you’ve just had your final moult and you’re as big as you’ll ever be. Congratulations, you’re all grown up! But wait, what’s this strange urge you’re feeling? That’s the drive to mate, and it’s overwhelming. You leave home for good, risking life and limb to find a female of your own kind to procreate with. Perhaps you’ll never find one. You may run out of reserves and simply expire without passing on your genes, or it may be that something hungry finds you. But let’s imagine you got lucky. Lured in by pheromones, you find her! Now you have one last problem. The object of your affections is a much larger, hungry predator, so how do you convince her that you are there as a date and not a meal? With over 50000 species (and counting!) of spider known so far, it’s not surprising that their mating and courtship is often entertaining and sometimes mildly disturbing! In this talk we’ll see dancing, fighting, gift-giving, daring escapes, bondage, oral sex, the ultimate dinner date and more, most of which really shouldn’t be tried at home.

Phil Sirvid, PhD – Assistant Curator Invertebrates
Phil has a broad general knowledge of New Zealand entomology but specialises in the arachnids, particularly spiders and harvestmen. He has published on the taxonomy, systematics and evolutionary history of New Zealand spiders as well as on medical entomology and arachnid conservation.

Ticket includes: a glass of wine/juice and free parking. 

Feature image: Nomaua urquharti Fitzgerald & Sirvid, 2009, collected 14 May 2007, Bruce Park Scenic Reserve, New Zealand. Field Collection 2000-2007. CC BY 4.0. Te Papa (AS.000869)


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Thursday 16 March
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
$20.00 – $30.00
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Wellington, 6011 New Zealand
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