Integrative Behavioural Ecology of Mating

Are there native black widows in central Canada?
Photo: Ken Jones
Why do female jumping spiders fight to the death?
Photo: Ken Jones
How do male black widows use chemicals to find females & defeat rivals?
Photo: Ken Jones
Are male black widows choosy about females?
Photo by Ken Jones
How do male redback spiders avoid cannibalism?
Photo by Ken Jones
Thanks to the Awesome Summer 2017 Lab Crew!
Amira, Ridda, Allison, Sharunan, Mariaelena, Chris, Abel, Yousef, Vighnesh, Emmanuel

Professor Maydianne CB Andrade, Canada Research Chair



We examine how reciprocal effects of ecological and social factors influence reproductive tactics, life history decisions, physiological performance, and sexual selection. One recent focus is exploring how these processes shape divergence in phenotypic traits related to mating in geographically separated populations. Our work includes laboratory and field studies of invertebrates, and our primary study organisms are the black widow spiders (genus Latrodectus).


June 2017.  ABS 2017 @ UTSC was a huge success!

Thanks to all who volunteered their time to help it run smoothly.

Congratulations to undergraduates Alexandra Dorison and Archchana Rajmohan who presented work from their research and were awarded Honouorable Mentions in the Undergraduate Poster competition at the conference.

 ABS 2017 Logo

Summer 2017. Congratulations to Yousef Safar, our new undergraduate lab manager. Many thanks to Archchana Rajmohan who is our former lab manager and is now graduating and moving on to new opportunities.

January 2, 2017: Prof Andrade begins her new role as Vice Dean, Faculty Affairs & Equity, working with the Dean’s group on issues related to Faculty recruitment, development and career progression. She will split her time between the Dean’s office and the lab.

Congratulations to Luciana Baruffaldi, who has taken up a new role as Lab Director. Luciana will split her time between overseeing lab operations and research and conducting her own research as a post-doc.

Thursday February 9, 8pm. See what happens when a bunch of entomologists (and one arachnologist) figure out how many bugs live in a typical Toronto home!Watch on CBC’s The Nature of Things: The Great Wild Outdoors

Recent Publications


Rosenthal, MF, Gertler M, Hamilton AD, Prasad S & Andrade, MCB. 2017. Taxonomic bias in animal behaviour publications. Animal Behaviour 127, 83-89 .


Biaggio, MD, Sandomirsky, I, Lubin, Y, Harari, AR, Andrade, MCB. 2016. Copulation with immature females increases male fitness in cannibalistic widow spiders. Biology Letters DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0516


  • Andrade, MCB & MacLeod, EC. 2015. Potential for CFC in black widows (genus Latrodectus): Mechanisms and social context. in Cryptic Female Choice in Arthropods – Patterns, Mechanisms and Prospects. (A. V. Peretti and A. Aisenberg, editors). Springer International Publishers Inc. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-17894-3
  • Baruffaldi, L & Andrade, MCB. 2015. Contact pheromones mediate male preference in black widow spiders: avoidance of hungry sexual cannibals?  Animal Behaviour. 102, 25-32. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.01.007
  • DeLuca, PA, Stoltz, JA, Andrade, MCB, Mason, AC. 2015. Metabolic efficiency in courtship favors males with intermediate mass in the Australian redback spider, Latrodectus hasselti. J. Insect Physiology. doi: