Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

Just this morning I read this post about the courtship dance of male jumping spiders with a very cool video. I'm a biologist, I like spiders - I even have a tattoo of a spider (Mom, did you know I had a tattoo? Happy Mother's Day!) - and I'm entertained and intrigued by the complexity of this mating routine. With his fancy 8-legged footwork the male spider is saying, "Wowza, ladies, look at me!" Seriously, watch the video. Not impressed by his moves? He doesn't care. Male jumping spiders will also try and woo dead, freeze-dried, and even fake females. In bird species, female robots are being used to study male courtship behavior too. Oh, men.

Fast forward 12 hours and I find a 3-inch wolf spider in our house. Okay, find isn't really accurate. More of "Ahhh! What the hell is that?" I like spiders ... right? Even very large spiders? This is really the largest spider I've ever seen indoors. If it starts a mating display, it has to move. No spider families allowed!

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