Sep. 19, 2014

Jumping Spider Shake Down

by Ariel Zych

Click to enlarge images
The courtship displays of male jumping spiders in the family Salticidae combine a number of flashy signals to woo females. Displaying males might shake their mouthparts, bob their abdomens, wave their legs, dance from side to side, and flash bright colors. In addition to their crazy dance moves, males will simultaneously generate vibrational signals that can be detected by the female. Vibrations are produced by rubbing different body parts together (like the head and abdomen) or by tapping the ground with a leg, mouthpart, or abdomen. Watch closely, and you can see how some of their movements correspond to the vibrations they’re making while dancing.
To see these spiders in action, watch the Science Friday video “Shake Your Silk-Maker: The Dance of the Peacock Spider
Spider Song and Dance Challenge
Using a selection of dances and vibrational signals—recorded by graduate student Madeline B. Girard, who’s researching peacock spiders—we’ve created a challenge: try to match each spider’s courtship display with the vibration signals that it produced while dancing. Post your guesses in the comments box below, and have fun!
Maratus amabilis
Maratus clupeatus
"Colonel Mustard"
Maratus digitatus
Maratus sarahae
Maratus splendens


Learn more about how to analyze sound spectrograms in our Spectrogram Analysis FAQ.

  • Gif footage courtesy of Madeline Girard, University of California, Berkeley
  • Audio courtesy of Madeline Girard, University of California, Berkeley
  • Spectrograms were generated using Raven Lite v 1.0, update 22. Bioacoustics Research Program (2014). Ithaca, NY: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Raven: Interactive Sound Analysis Software

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About Ariel Zych

Ariel is Science Friday's education manager. She is a former teacher and scientist who spends her free time making food, watching arthropods, and being outside. You can follow her @arieloquent

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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