May
04
2008

The lighter side of spider sex

Phintella vittata: All upside-down and ready for love
Phintella vittata: All upside-down and ready for loveCourtesy spiderman (Frank)
Okay, maybe this isn't as titillating as a big flippered mammal trying to have its way with a bird in a tuxedo, but - hey - it's still about sex.

Scientists have determined for the first time that male jumping spiders (Phintella vittata) are using ultraviolet B (UVB) rays (medium wave) to communicate with their girlfriends and/or potential mates. The use of ultraviolet A (UVA) rays (long wave) in the animal world has been documented before but not UVB. Either way, since ultraviolet light is invisible to the human eye, this tricky technique isn't going to be much use next Saturday night at Larry's Bar and Disco.

But it seems to work as a successful mating strategy for the jumping spider. The researchers doing the study discovered that the male Phintella reflected the UVB rays from their bodies, and that the female objects of their affection were more likely to get it on with those sweet-talkers who could do so in the UVB wavelength. There is a video accompanying the source of this story but I found it neither prurient nor even revealing of the UVB ray method.

However, I did find some really great video of spider courtship behavior that’s worth watching. I’m not sure it’s the same species of jumping spider, but it doesn't matter. What's really interesting is how the audio has been amplified making spiderboy's love tango seem much more mechanical than biological.

I don't know how any of this helps those of you using Match.com or any other dating service, but if you think you need more information about ultraviolet spider love, go here.

You can also check out the journal Current Biology where the study results have been published.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

hmoob_muas's picture
hmoob_muas says:

i wish i have this ultraviolet B rays in me...

posted on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 9:52am
Kunicki24's picture
Kunicki24 says:

that is awesom, they are like little ray guns...

posted on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 9:55am
koallainfestation37's picture
koallainfestation37 says:

i think ill try to mack on some hotties via UV lights

posted on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 10:04am
twila_08's picture
twila_08 says:

This is so crazy i never knew spiders had sex. i guess you learn something new everyday.

Twila Turnage

posted on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 10:11am
MrBig621188's picture
MrBig621188 says:

yeah knew that

posted on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 10:21am
Looney_Tooney's picture
Looney_Tooney says:

That is SWEET yo... HaHa

U Kno Wat Im Sayin!!!

posted on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 10:26am
tiffany_88's picture
tiffany_88 says:

Awesome is intereting to learn about the animals and yours environment.

posted on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 10:21am

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