The "Daring Jumper"
Phiddipus audax

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Can I dance for you?

If you’re having trouble finding a date, maybe you should take some tips from the salticidae family of spiders. The males in this family do what is called courtship to try and persuade a female to mate with them. Courtship is basically a show-off what you have presentation. The color, vision, and silk the spiders obtain are all used in this extreme “flirtation” display.

Salticids are usually quite colorful, males especially due to their part in courtship. In courtship, the males can be seen standing up on their back legs to show the color of their abdomen, or to move side to side and jump at the end to show off their body, and leg color. Also, some males will advance towards the female in a zigzag pattern while tilting their abdomen, as well as opening and closing their chelicerae (or fangs) that are usually bright metallic colored (Elias 2003). With the acute vision that this family of spiders has, the color of the spider and the movements that they do are actually quite powerful.

Vision and color are not the only things used in courtship. Vibratory signals on silk, which are patterns of change in tension and movement of the web, and noises are also used. It is quite interesting that a non-web building spider has the ability to perceive vibratory signals on silk, but they can. If a female is in her nest the male will perform vibratory courtship on the nest and if successful, the male will enter to mate with the female. The male does not have to be able to see to do this type of courtship. This is good because most nests are usually built in dark areas such as, under rocks, leaves, or in cracks. If a male encounters a female outside of her nest, the male will attempt the color type courtship, mentioned above, as well as combine that with noises. Here is a video of a salticid’s display of courtship.

Studies have shown that the evolution of these spiders’ courtship has been shaped by forcing males to overcome the resistance of females by performing more complicated dances and being more extravagantly decorated. There are many more combinations of displays that the male is capable of. These are only a few.

Following courtship and mating the female has her eggs and contains them in a silken sac. These silken egg sacs are spherical in shape. The sacs are then embedded in a cocoon-like nest. The salticid stays with these but the reason for this is unclear (Harland 2000).

Here is how Phidippus audax interacts with other organisms.