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Vol. 344 ,
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Video: The Smooth Moves of the Male Orb-Web Spider
28 January 2013 1:20 pm
A good first impression can save your life—that is, if you're a male orb-web spider. When a male Argiope keyserlingi finds a female, he carefully cuts out a small section of her web, builds a mating thread over the hole, and begins a complex courtship ritual. With his first courting technique, the shudder, he tries to entice the much-larger female onto his thread by quickly rocking back and forth. If successful, he follows up with abdominal wags and the "mating thread dance," consisting of web plucks and bounces. While his performance on these last techniques ultimately determines whether the cannibalistic female decides to mate with him, his execution of the initial shudder influences whether she decides to have a postsex snack, researchers report this month in PLOS ONE. Apparently, females prefer—and are less likely to eat—males that shudder long and slow.
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