Unusual "pairing" behavior in Araneus diadematus
Every year around this time, I can always look forward to observing orb weavers. We get Araneus diadematus around our home in large numbers, so I'm quite familiar with the species and its typical behavior, including courtship. However, I noticed something strange 3 days ago in a female's retreat. Her web had been destroyed, so I looked up into the retreat to check on her and saw more than just 8 legs... So I looked closer and noticed a male resting right next to her - so close that they were touching side by side. They have been there ever since and the female has failed to construct a new web.
Any time I saw mating A. diadematus in the past, the two spiders would always be in the web together to mate, the male leaving immediately afterwards. Perhaps they're postponing the mating because the web has been destroyed? Even so, I am very surprised that the female has put up with the male's presence all this time.
Has anyone noticed or heard of anything similar to this before? I am very curious about this and would appreciate any second thoughts.