"How do zebra spiders reproduce?"

    In males, a pair of leg-like appendages called the pedipalps are used to transfer sperm to females during copulation. When these spiders meet, the male carries out a courtship dance involving waving his front legs and moving his abdomen up  and down. The better the dance the more likely the female will want to mate, although it still remains unknown what the female looks for in a mating dance.

     During courtship, a male has to be very careful when approaching the female, or she may react aggressively or even mistake him for a prey species. Despite their good eyesight, males will sometimes accidentally perform a mating dance in front of another male. When this happens, the two males usually fight. Males will also perform courtship dances in front of their own reflection in a mirror. The jumping spider’s dance begins when he raises his long front legs into a vertical position, much like the football signal for a touchdown. Next, he moves forward, often in a zigzag pattern, three steps to one side and then three steps in the other direction. He does all this while shimmying his body and wagging his fringed and decorated palps. A receptive female jumping spider, will often respond by vibrating her palps, sometimes she may even imitate the male’s courtship routine. She may also wait quietly in a crouching position until the male approaches her to copulate. Check out this great video of a zebra spider's courtship dance on YouTube.

     Finally, after the males have gone to quite a bit of trouble to get the females “ in the mood,” the spiders are ready for mating. The female rises, and the male inserts his palpal bulb in her genital pore, or epigynum. The female quickly turns from being receptive to being annoyed, and the male hurries out of her way as soon as he finishes mating. Females lay their eggs in small silky bags, mostly in spring and summer for the purpose of being able to protect spiderlings from predators. Females will guard young until they are ready to leave, normally after second molting period. Young usually mature in late spring and summer. Their lifecycle is about one year. Now that you know how they reproduce, learn about how they interact with other species.


Go Back to Home Page     Visit Multiple Organisms Website