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Cylindrical silk gland (CY) spigots distinguish a large clade of modern spiders, the CY spigot clade, which includes all entelegyne spiders and their closest relatives. Following a widespread paradigm, CYs and their spigots are only known to occur in female spiders and they produce silk used in the construction of egg sacs. Here we report the occurrence of a CY spigot or CY nubbin on each posterior median spinneret (PMS) in males (5th stadium and later) of the spider Australomimetus maculosus. Late juvenile males had a CY spigot on each PMS, whereas adult males either had a CY spigot or, more often, a non-functional CY nubbin. This indicates that potential CY use by males is at least largely limited to late juvenile instars and is not involved with egg sac construction. Despite the presence of CY spigots in both sexes, sexual dimorphism with respect to CYs was still evident since males lacked the CY spigot on each posterior lateral spinneret present in late juvenile and adult females, and CY spigots of males never had the wide shaft and opening of adult females. This study adds to our knowledge of spinning apparatus variability in modern spiders and demonstrates an exception to the paradigm that, in the CY spigot clade, such spigots are restricted to female spiders.
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Townley, M.A., Harms, D. Hers and his: Silk glands used in egg sac construction by female spiders potentially repurposed by a ‘modern’ male spider. Sci Rep 10, 6663 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63521-7
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