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Mating behavior and spermatophore morphology of the whip scorpion Typopeltis dalyi Pocock, 1900 (Uropygi, Thelyphonida)

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posted on 28.09.2020 by Michael Seiter, Marie Christine Moser, Thomas Schwaha

Whip scorpions are an enigmatic group of terrestrial raptorial arachnids that show remarkable mating and courtship behavior in which the male forms a complex spermatophore. While whip spiders (Amblypygi) are relatively well-studied, whip scorpions (Uropygi) are poorly known. The two orders form the Pedipalpi, whip scorpions (Uropygi include Thelyphonida and Schizomida) and whip spiders (Amblypygi). Two major groups have been described based on the mode of sperm transfer that differ in the duration of the typical female–male tandem mating dance. Because comprehensive studies are lacking, in this study we add to our knowledge of the reproductive biology of whip scorpions by analyzing the mating behavior and spermatophore morphology of the previously unstudied species Typopeltis dalyi Pocock, 1900. Our observations show that this species belongs to the second group and supports the hypothesis of P. Weygoldt that their mode of sperm transfer appears more effective than that of the first group and that sufficient sperm can be supplied with one mating. The mating behavior and spermatophore morphology in T. dalyi are similar to those of closely related species and add additional characters applicable for species classification and phylogenetic inferences.

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