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Male Maratus volans jumping spider

Male <em>Maratus volans</em> jumping spider

A male Maratus volans jumping spider puts on a display for a female.

More about this image
The peacock spider Maratus Volans has one of the most elaborate courtship displays in arthropods.

Researcher by Madeline B. Girard in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues used regular and high-speed video segments captured in the lab to obtain detailed descriptions of complete male courtship dances.

Research on jumping spiders has demonstrated that males of some species produce vibrations concurrently with visual displays. The researchers also used laser vibrometry to uncover such elements of the species. Their recordings reveal and describe for the first time that M. Volans males use vibratory signals in addition to complex body ornaments and motion displays in courtship.

The peacock spider and other closely related species are outstanding study organisms for testing hypotheses about the evolution and functional significance of complex displays. Therefore, this descriptive study established a new model system for behavioral ecology, one that could make important contributions to the field.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (grant IOS 10-21385) and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (grant OISE 11-07516).

Read more about this research in the journal story Multi-Modal Courtship in the Peacock Spider, Maratus volans. (Date image taken: November 2011; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Dec. 18, 2018)

Credit: Madeline Girard, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

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