Sex-specific development and life history in hermit spiders

In a new paper, we examined sex-specific developmental trajectories and life history trade-offs in an extremely sexually dimorphic spider - the African hermit spider (Nephilingis cruentata). Remarkably, family effects explain a higher variance in male compared to female life histories, implying that female developmental trajectories may be more responsive to environment. We also find sex differences in life history trade-offs and show that males with longer development times grow larger but exhibit shorter adult longevity. Female developmental time also correlates positively with adult body mass, but the trade-offs between female adult mass, reproduction, and longevity are less clear.