Love Dance of the Jumping Spider

In a personal David Attenborough moment, I have just watched a jumping spider stalk, catch and kill a fly on the inside of the window next to my desk. Unlike most spiders, jumping spiders apparently have excellent vision, using sight to track their prey. It is also not uncommon for these spiders to stop, turn their eyes and look at the observing human, and that’s what this spider did to me. What must that be like, being so small and clearly seeing an enormous giant staring at you?

The spider manoeuvred round behind the fly, moved slowly up like a stalking lion, freezing when the fly started to move, then pausing and crouching before the leap. It landed squarely on the fly. Naturally, the fly tried to escape but the spider was still connected to the window by a single strand of silk. As the fly struggled, the line of silk further entangled its wings, slowing it as the spider sunk in its fangs. Awesome. I love spiders.

Heading to You Tube to see if there was an example of what I had just witnessed (there wasn’t), I found instead the mating dance of a male jumping spider. The males use both visual cues and sound effects to attract females. Check out this guy’s moves. When he starts snapping his antennae and sounding like an old car starting up, how could any girl resist?



2 Responses

  1. Does the female kill the male after they have consummated their love?
    I know with a lot of spider species the female usually turns her mate into a delicious post-coital lunch….

  2. Getting eaten after sex is an evolutionary bonus for the male too. He doesn’t have to put up with inane post-shag questions such as “what are you thinking about?”

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