Black widow spiders twerk to avoid being eaten by mates claims SFU study

Dec 19 2017, 5:25 pm

A team of Vancouver-based researchers has uncovered the dating secrets of male black widow spiders — specifically, how they avoid being eaten by their mates.

A pair of graduate students and their biology professor at Simon Fraser University set out to determine how male black widows approach females without being mistaken for prey on the web.

They found male spiders shake their abdomens to produce distinct vibrations to indicate they are a potential mate, and not dinner. In a news release they described the process as “twerking,” a nod to the hip-shaking dance made infamous by pop star Miley Cyrus.

In contrast, house flies and crickets produce short, high-pitched vibrations, which signal to the female spider that food is waiting.

The paper, published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, says not much is known about how spiders use their silk webs to communicate.


Via Canadian Press

Image: Black Widow Spider / Shutterstock

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