Male Black Widows Must Dance For Their Mates To Remind Them They’re Not Food
It's hard when you have eight left feet.
If you thought your relationship was grim, a recent study published in Frontiers of Zoology posits that male Black Widows must thrust their ”pelvises” repeatedly to remind their eight-legged mates not to eat them.
In the study released yesterday, scientists at Simon Fraser University in Canada explain what they discovered after studying the elaborate sequence of movements with which web-dwelling spiders such as the Western Black Widow communicate.
In case you managed to repress all memories of it, Simon Fraser is also the same university that is developing the Sticky-Footed Spider Robot, so we want to know what gives with these guys.
The team discovered that male spiders communicate through the web to a potential mate using sporadic, low-frequency pelvic thrusts. Study researcher Samantha Vibert described the dance for survival, saying “They take a few steps and then they stop and vibrate their abdomen, and then they take a few steps and vibrate again.” (And then they put their left foot in, and their left foot out….)
When sensing these specific vibrations, female Black Widows would not attack the source and would in some instances even send back similar low-frequency vibrations (if they’re, like, really vibing on the dude spider), which could suggest communicative intent.
Says Vibert, “Spiders can be really beautiful, and they’re a lot more complex than most people give them credit for. If you go past the spider fear, the phobia, there are really quite a lot of things that will make you smile.”
Sure, I mean, I guess she’s the spider expert and all, but watch this video through to the end and tell me you don’t think she’s being controlled from inside by a Simon Fraser spider robot.
I thought so.