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SCIENCE BRIEFING

Smaller spiders get the ladies

December 13, 2008|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Little guys do it better, at least in the spider world, New Zealand researchers reported Monday in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

Although hulking male redback spiders outcompete smaller males in head-to-head contests, the smaller ones mature faster and get to the females sooner. And they produce 10 times as many offspring, according to Michael Kasumovic of the University of New South Wales.

But whether they were big or small, the males were usually injured or killed in the process, he said.

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