Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 13:06 UK

Violent sex strategy of spiders

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A violent but evolutionarily effective mating strategy has been spotted in spiders from Israel.

Males of the aptly-named Harpactea sadistica species pierce the abdomen of females, fertilising their eggs directly in the ovaries.

The approach gives the first male to inseminate an advantage by bypassing structures in the females' genitalia that store sperm, preferentially fertilising from the last male's sperm.

The findings are reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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