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The Dramatic Love Life Of A Male Jumping Spider

Male jumping spiders perform elaborate dances to entice mates.

a close-up image of an adult male jumping spider

Photo: Thomas Shahan (Flickr)

An adult, male Thiodina puerpera (Jumping Spider).

If you’re single, you know the dating scene can be brutal. At least you’re not a male jumping spider (Salticidae).

Male jumping spiders are so eager to mate with a willing female that they try with pretty much every female spider they come across. Sometimes, even female jumping spiders of a different species. They can’t mate with females of different species, and in fact, these attempts risk their lives.

Scientist Chaperones

Scientists at the University of Florida observed male jumping spiders wooing females. In one instance, a male approached a female of the same species and launched into an elaborate mating dance involving flailing limbs and vibrations. The female fought the male off a few times, but eventually gave in and the pair mated.

In another encounter where a male spider approached a female of a different species, the female wasn’t so forgiving. In fact, she ate him.

Cross-species Relationships

Jumping spiders are not the only creatures to try to mate with animals of another species. It’s actually pretty common. However, males of most other species don’t face the risk of uninterested females eating them.

Thank you to Lisa Taylor of The University of Florida for reviewing this episode’s script.

Sources And Further Reading:

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