For These Tiny Spiders, It’s Sing or Get Served | Deep Look

For These Tiny Spiders, It’s Sing or Get Served | Deep Look

Behold a very small and rather cute spider. This is clypeatus. A jumping spider. He doesn’t spin webs. Instead he uses silk as a lifeline, reeling
it out as he hops from place to place. But right now, he’s looking for a mate. The thread of a female spider that he can
trace back to its source. Problem is, she may have other priorities. While he’ll jump on pretty much anything
that moves…She only mates once. She’s picky. So he’s going to make his case… on the
dancefloor. Male jumping spiders perform courtship displays
that would make Bob Fosse proud. Jazz hands, leg-lifts…they even shimmy their
pedipalps. But he needs a soundtrack. So, by beating together the front and back
halves of his body, he creates vibrations that travel through the ground. This is what her ears look like. Tiny membranes stretched across slits in her
legs. To study these jumping spider pulses, researchers
at the University of California Berkeley use a sophisticated laser vibrometer developed
for quality-testing cars and airplanes. It turns those vibrations into something we
can hear. And guess what? It’s a song. The first verse sounds like this. A fast heartbeat. Thump thump thump thump thump thump thump. Then, more thumping. Followed by something new. A “BOOM.” This is verse two. That pattern, over and over again. For verse three he adds a third element. Almost like he’s casting a spell, right? From species to species, and there are thousands
of different jumping spiders, the songs vary. But one thing never changes: Male jumping
spiders sing like their lives depend on it. Because they do. She may mate with him. She might refuse. But she might just eat him instead. When the Berkeley scientists prevented the
males from singing while they danced, the females were three times as likely to hunt
them as prey. So he needs to go big. The closer he gets to her, the more danger
he’s in. The dance and the song get more and more urgent. But even with all that… She’s still calling the shots. Hi, it’s Amy. If female spiders are picky, with males, the
bar is so, so low. He’ll do this courting song and dance with
pretty much anything. In the lab, scientists use frozen specimens
this one. A dead female spider! And he still tries to mate with her. While you’re here, subscribe to Deep Look,
and thanks for watching.

100 Replies to “For These Tiny Spiders, It’s Sing or Get Served | Deep Look”

  1. why are females always like this? Even human females will eat you alive if you don't apease to their needs.

  2. I spend a good deal of time during Spring and Summer watching these dudes. Such amazing little creatures, and they seem to be personable at times.

  3. at dinner with my family)
    mom:what did you learn today?
    me: that female spiders almost always eat their mates
    mom: (glances over to dad)
    dad: (looks terrified) how did you learn that
    me: the internet
    also me: (gets grounded from using the internet)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *