Mistaken Identity Leaves Many Male Spiders Dead

Male jumping spiders are not picky when it comes to choosing a mate. These spiders cannot waste too much time trying to discern the bad lady spiders from the good ones. This lack of choosiness on the part of male jumping spiders has been known to science for some time, but now researchers are learning that being eaten by a female spider might not be just because the males are not choosy when choosing a mate.

There are more than five thousand different species of jumping spiders in the world, and many of their habitats overlap. Many of the males from different species can be easily discerned by the colorful stripes that so many of them are sporting. The females, on the other hand, are darker, and lack color. This makes female jumping spiders from different species more difficult to distinguish from one another. Unfortunately, this means that a male jumping spider from one species may attempt to mate with a female jumping spider from a different species, and of course this does not end well for the male jumping spider.

One species of animal attempting to mate with another species of animal is common across the world. For example, lizards, fish, flies, moths and many other animals resort to this interspecies activity. When the researchers dangled dead females in front of males the males responded by initiating a ritualistic mating dance no matter what species of jumping spider the females came from. In some cases, a male of one species would court a female of a different species for hours. Sometimes the males get devoured and other times they are able to mate successfully. The males that mate successfully are usually still attacked, and most come close to being eaten. But after a struggle, and a lot of dancing by the male, mating sometimes occurs. It all seems to depend on luck for the male jumping spiders.

Have you ever witnessed a female spider eating a male spider?