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Spider Nookie

I Love U…VIn this morning’s Science Shots at Science, a quick synopsis of a research paper on spider sex.

I love U … V. When it comes to spider courtship, proper lighting makes all the difference. New experiments show that male ornate jumping spiders (Cosmophasis umbratica) attract their mates by reflecting ultraviolet (UV) rays from scales on their face and body. In return, females show off sensory appendages on their front legs, which glow green when hit by UV light. When researchers blocked UV light from the sun, test spiders lost interest in each other. The findings, reported 26 January in Science, help explain why the spiders’ highly specialized eyes are fine-tuned to detect UV light. (Photo: Matthew L.M. Lim and Daiqin Li)

LiveScience has a little more:

Scientists led by Matthew Lim of the University of Singapore videotaped pairs of male and female jumping spiders under full-spectrum light—which includes UV light—and under UV-blocked light.

Under ultraviolet light, the male and female were seen to hit the “dance floor” with their bodies aglow [video]: Turns out, females have their own “glow stick”—their front appendages, called palps, glowed in a bright green hue under UV light [image].

As courtship progressed, the male arched its body, vibrated its palps and slinked on tiptoe toward the female. The female spider hunched, seeming to play hard to get, and then scampered away.

Very cool. Rave on jumping spiders, rave on.

Filed under: Biology, Education, Science, Science Links, Sex

3 Responses

  1. Amanda says:

    I am so not okay with this. I am the BIGGEST arachnaphobe you’ll ever meet.

  2. JanieBelle says:

    Eight big black eyes to see you nekkid better, Amanda!

    Eight long spindly legs with little hooks on the end, to crawl on you better, Amanda.

    And don’t get me started with the butt web thing!

    🙂

  3. Pi Guy says:

    Reflected UV light? That’s how I wooed Mrs. Pi. Once I saw her glow stick, it was all over!

    And I sure hope both of those spiders are of consenting age. I’d hate to get nailed for having spider porn on a work computer.

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