Biologists have found animals that “undress” females before mating

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Biologists from the University of Vienna found that male spider mites help females shed their shells, thereby preparing them for mating.

Females that are ready to molt turn silver as air appears between the old and new shells. Males that find such females drum with their front paws on their back, and when the shell cracks, they begin to free the back of the abdomen from it.

Sometimes such a male is attacked by a competitor who can mate with the female instead, biologists report. Also, a third male can mate with a female without any effort, if the other two fight among themselves.

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