Skip to comments.These male jumping spiders evolved dance moves because the ladies ignore them
Posted on 10/05/2017 10:19:05 PM PDT by nickcarraway
This is the cutest that spider mating has ever been.
You dont often feel bad for spiders. But when a fuzzy, black-eyed jumping spider raises his green forearms into the air, wiggles his butt, and flashes his orange knees, only to have a lady spider literally turn around in the middle of his dance...what kind of monster doesnt feel a pang of empathy? It doesnt even matter that arachnids are unlikely to experience rejection and angst the way humans doyou feel for the little guy.
Its somehow worse once you know that male jumping spiders evolved this ability specifically to woo mates. Or at least, thats the going theory. A group of biologists at the University of Pittsburgh wanted to understand why Habronattus pyrrithrix performed these mating dances even when the female partner wasnt looking in their direction. Why dance for a lady whos not even paying attention?
This isnt an unheard of problem in the animal world. Peahensthe female equivalent of peacockstend to look elsewhere while their potential mates are strutting around. It seems that part of the point of the peacock display is to capture the distracted peahens attention. And so too with jumping spiders. The biologists video-taped pairs of H. pyrrithrix as the males courted the females to figure out how this delicate little performance worked. They published their findings in the journal Behavioral Ecology, along with an oddly delightful video of the dance.
You can see in that recording that the lady spider seems pretty uninterested in what the male is doing. He waves his arms, he waggles his knees, and when he finally makes his move, hes totally rejected. He doesnt even seem that intent on staying in her field of view, though. Its possible that this is actually intentional, since cannibalism is not uncommon in the jumping spider world, at least in captivity. If eaten alive were a potential option before and after sex, you might also be hesitant to really commit to the mating ritual.
Then again, it may be that the male simply doesn't have to constantly move himself to be in her field of view. Jumping spiders have eyes on the sides of their head, so they can see movement in every direction, though their side-eye vision isn't especially sharp. His dance might be just the trick to get her attention. Once she turns to face him, he starts that little knee raise bit to up the ante, now that he knows shes seen him. As for her apparent disinterest, thats a pretty standard reaction to this mating dance. About 70 percent of the time, female jumping spiders didnt look at the males. The biologists arent totally sure why this was, though they have some theories. One is that the lady only needs a few quick glances to make her decision. Another is that she just literally cant focus for that long, and so the guy keeps dancing to re-capture her attention. Or it could be that shes keeping an eye out for predators that might be notice a bright green waving spider and eat both of them.
Or maybejust maybeits a test. By turning away, the female spider is forcing her partner to interpret her signals and react appropriately, so she could then differentiate between the guys who care to really court her and the dolts who just want to wave their butts around. Males who accurately interpret her body language might be better partners. Or, as the biologists put it in the paper, that more attentive males may be more successful communicators and, in turn, more valuable mates. Spiders really are just like us.
Wanna learn how to dance?
Don’t be a Wallflower.
Spiders going their own way...
Find out what we’re doing wrong.
“raises his green forearms into the air, wiggles his butt”
Hey, they stole my M.O. for picking up women!!
“Do you love me? I can really move.
Do you love me? I’m in the groove.
Do you love me? Now that I can dance?”
“I’m sorry, Archie, but I’m seeing a caterpillar.”
Looks like he made it...
Their sex organs are in their knees, IIRC.
He has to take his sperm from his flashy little knees with his extra long forelegs and wait for an opportunity to get past her shorter forelegs and place the package on one or both of the knees on her second set of legs. It can be risky since in reaching he exposes his vulnerable underside to her fangs.
He doesn’t move his mouthparts much while this is going on but she does. To me it looks like she is communicating with him using the appendages around her mouth- palps, etc- while he is using his legs. Maybe they are discussing the pre-nup.
Hold yo hands up in the air
Like you just don’t care!
And quick as lightning he touches her knee.
Joe Biden could learn a thing or two here about not being obvious.
“Hold yo hands up in the air
Like you just dont care!”
I’ll do anything for love, but I won’t do that, No, I won’t do that....
So like us...
Rather, her third set of legs.
Even when both sexes are similarly colored as when juvenile, you can tell the males by their much longer front legs.
Jumping spiders are pretty cool... you can get them to wave with you if you put your hand close and motion like they do with your fingers. They try to match your motions right and left, etc. So they can see us and interact with us, they don’t just run away like some spiders do.
Had some bold jumpers around, and they were somewhat fun to play with. They turn to face the finger, wherever it goes.
Also had a brown recluse bite me not long ago. Bled quite a bit after pulling the weird, thin membrane off of the weird, pinkish purple spot. Pretty ugly little crater and not so fun. Poured peroxide into it and packed it with baking soda. Then packed it again and again very often as needed for a couple of days or so.
Didn’t go to the doctor, but the scar was smaller than it could have been, right next to a sizable, visible vein. Probably did better on my own than with a doctor that time and with no cutting.
Jumping spider’s relatives are the peacock spiders of Australia:
And, for your amusement... “Staying Alive” :
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