Friday, April 15, 2011

Dancing Peacock Spider

Source- www.xs4all.nl
You are probably familiar with the risks that some male spiders take to mate.  The Black Widow is famous in popular culture for eating its mate but actually this behavior is frequent in other common species of spiders.  Many female spiders will eat the males during or after mating or frequently instead of mating. 

This remarkable Youtube.com video by Dr. Jurgen Otto describes the many dance maneuvers that a Peacock Spider in Australia goes through to attract the female's attention.  This is the first time the behavior has been filmed.

The Peacock Spider (Maratus volans)  is a tiny Australian jumping spider, less than a quarter inch in size.  Like many spiders, the male is colorful, a useful trait in advertizing his species and gaining favor with the ladies.  While its dance moves are impressive, its finale is especially dramatic.  Watching its colorful "tail" flair up (actually the dorsal surface of its abdomen), it is easy to see how it got its name.

While this Australian arachnid's moves are especially dramatic, many of our common male spiders have less exotic motions they go through to show that they are looking for love rather than a spider meal.  Unfortunately, the female spiders don't always reciprocate, leading to a potentially lethal encounter that gives a whole new meaning to the term "dinner date".

More original footage from is on this youtube.com video.
Complete information on Maratus volans  is at www.xs4all.nl. 
Thanks to Dr. Chris Barnhart of MSU for sharing this information with us.  

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