Who’s a better lover: Spiderman or Spider?

spiderman-vs-spider-jungle-in-jeopardy

Who’s a better lover: Spiderman vs. alarmed Portia fimbriata

If watching the past two Amazing Spiderman movies made you girls go head over heels for Spiderman (or Andrew Garcia, for that matter), I’m here to tell you are blinded love: his good looks and cool moves. Sure enough, his superhero charm and sense of chivalry are enough reasons to fall for him. But when it comes to real romance, Spiderman just doesn’t seem to make the cut as a good lover. Male Spiders on the other hand, have most of the qualities of a great boyfriend. Here are the five reasons why having a relationship with a spider would make a better love story:

1. Target of interest

Spider: An eye for big girl. (The guy’s got guts!)

A male spider doesn’t care whether you rich or poor, big or small.  Try guessing which one’s the male in the photo below.

Photo: Frank Starmer

Smaller male Nephila pilipes piggybacking on bigger female; Photo: Frank Starmer

The smaller fella, you say? You got it! Not all spiders exhibit these extreme differences in size though. Female spiders in the Nephilidae family (like the one above) are generally a lot larger than the males. They are also sexually dimorphic, meaning the two genders do not look alike in terms of shape, size, colour etc.

Spiderman: An eye for pretty classmate

Spiderman has long set his eyes on pretty and smart classmate, Gwen Stacy. Before they started engaging in real conversations, he was secretly taking pictures of her and even had her photo on his desktop wallpaper. You say it’s cute. I find it creepy…

Gif: camerasinthemedia.tumblr.com

“Shucks! She saw me.” (pretends to look elsewhere); Gif: camerasinthemedia.tumblr.com

2. The Chase: Who’s got the moves?

Spider: Smooth dancer? Definitely.

To woo their potential mating partner, some male spiders engage in dancing and showing off their sleek moves (e.g. Wolf spiders). The most elaborate dance of all is performed by the male Peacock spider. Males charm the ladies by waving two of their legs in the air (with moves like an air traffic controller) and flashing their peacock-like abdominal flap. In certain species of male spiders (family: Pisauridae and Trechaleidae), nuptial gift offerings is often presented to the female in the form of delicious prey wrapped in silk, in a bid to win the females over. Some scientists hypothesise that it may be used as a distraction to get in the game while she feasts on.

Photo: Jurgen Otto

Male Peacock Spider; Photo: Jurgen Otto

Seriously, he’s got the moves like jagger…

Video: Jurgen Otto

Spiderman: Neither a smooth dancer nor a smooth talker.

On the other hand, shy spiderman finds it difficult to confess his love and gets all jittery with his words when confronted by the girl of his dreams.

Photo: Columbia Picture / via Movie Room Reviews

Spiderman: ” You wanna… erm… just erm… we could…” ; Photo: Columbia Picture / via Movie Room Reviews

3. Reject or get rejected?

Spider: Never gonna give you up

Some male spiders are very persistent and won’t take no for an answer. Take this male Nephila in the following video for example. Despite literally being kicked in the face, he is not giving up. Very cautiously, he approaches her for the second time. He hopes to get a little lucky with the lady, but ends up getting kicked away yet again. It takes great skills and courage for the male to approach the big lady. One wrong move and he might end up as dinner (read on to find out more). Love is indeed very patient for the male spider.


Video: Frank Starmer

Spiderman: Rejects Gwen time and time again

I know this isn’t entirely Spiderman’s fault. On one hand, he promised Gwen’s late Dad to keep a distance from her so that she will be safe. On the other hand, he loves her too much to let her go. Alright, I’ll cut him some slack on this one!

Photo: fieldfeelings.tumblr.com

Gif: fieldfeelings.tumblr.com

4. You know you’ve got the lady hooked when…

Spider: You’ve hit the jackpot!

Photo: Chris Ang

A mating pair of Tylorida ventralis; Photo: Chris Ang

That is, when the male spider’s boxer gloves-like pedipalps (black palps in the above picture) which is used as a sperm-transfer organ, hits the female’s epigyne (female genitalia), and injects its sperm into it via the needle-like embolus (at the tip of the pedipalps; see picture below).  If mating is successful, expect many spiderlings in time to come!

Malabar Hermit Spider (Nephilengys malabarensis) - Joanna Yeo

Male Nephilengys malaberensis letting his package hang out.

Spiderman: Alas, a passionate kiss!

Which will be soon be interrupted by yet another crime that calls for spiderman’s heroism. Those villians sure know the right time to stir trouble.

Photo: Columbia Pictures /  via Dailymail

A little too passionate?; Photo: Columbia Pictures / via Dailymail

5. But eventually, all good things must come to an end…

Spider: Dies for love.

After hooking up with a girl that’s 30x bigger than him, some male spiders (e.g. Nephila) castrate themselves by severing their pedipalps and become eunuchs for the rest of their lives. Well at least they can still live and (possibly) continue their family line.  For others, love is selfless. Some male spiders get eaten up by their partners.  Take the male Nephila in the video below for example. After he’s done with his manly duties, the female grabs hold of him and devours him without second thought.

Video: Frank Starmer

Love is indeed selfless for male spiders. This male Nephila literally gave himself away.

(Note: Not all species of female spiders cannibalise their male counterparts.)

Spiderman: Lover dies.

If you think the male spider has a tragic fate, wait till you hear about Spiderman’s story. Just when things seem to get better for the two, evil strikes again. This time round, claiming Gwen’s life.

Photo:

Photo: Moviepilot.com

Is true love forbidden or what? In both love story endings, either one has to die. The question now is whether you would rather die for your love or have your lover die? I for one prefer a spider’s love story. Not because I’m a dominant female, but because of a male spider’s sincerity, perseverance and selflessness in his pursuit for love. Oh boy, it’s tough to find such guys these days…

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