Jumping Spider Shake Down

Jumping Spider Shake Down

Grade Level

3 - 5

minutes

15 minutes or fewer

subject

Life Science

Activity Type:

The courtship displays of male jumping spiders in the family Salticidae combine a number of flashy signals to woo females. Displaying males might shake their mouthparts, bob their abdomens, wave their legs, dance from side to side, and flash bright colors. In addition to their crazy dance moves, males will simultaneously generate vibrational signals that can be detected by the female. Vibrations are produced by rubbing different body parts together (like the head and abdomen) or by tapping the ground with a leg, mouthpart, or abdomen. Watch closely, and you can see how some of their movements correspond to the vibrations they’re making while dancing.

To see these spiders in action, watch the Science Friday video “Shake Your Silk-Maker: The Dance of the Peacock Spider

Spider Song and Dance Challenge

Using a selection of dances and vibrational signals—recorded by graduate student Madeline B. Girard, who’s researching peacock spiders—we’ve created a challenge: try to match each spider’s courtship display with the vibration signals that it produced while dancing. Have fun!

Maratus amabilis

Maratus clupeatus

“Colonel Mustard”

Maratus digitatus

Maratus sarahae

“Sparklemuffin”

Maratus splendens

Learn more about how to analyze sound spectrograms in our Spectogram Analysis FAQ.

Credits:

  • Gif footage courtesy of Madeline Girard, University of California, Berkeley
  • Audio courtesy of Madeline Girard, University of California, Berkeley
  • Spectrograms were generated using Raven Lite v 1.0, update 22. Bioacoustics Research Program (2014). Ithaca, NY: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Raven: Interactive Sound Analysis Software

Meet the Writer

About Ariel Zych

Ariel Zych is Science Friday’s education director. She is a former teacher and scientist who spends her free time making food, watching arthropods, and being outside.

  • userr8507

    Spiders are smarter than you would think. I had a spider (garden) on my porch. During a drought it had spun a web. I also gave it a little water spray from an aspirator one day and it drank it. The next day it was cooler, and it saw me coming and quickly walked away as if to say it did not want more water. I did not spray it.

    It allowed me to film it building its web, And If I did not like it’s web between my fence posts and knocked it down carefully. The web was back on my porch the next day. Wild!

    Frank Wilczek’s latest book, “A Beautiful Question: says they have poor vision. Can’t be right.

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