Black widow spiders navigate the dangerous dating world with a dance and a song - InfoNews

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Black widow spiders navigate the dangerous dating world with a dance and a song

Black widow female and male spiders are shown in an an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ho-Simon Fraser University
January 17, 2014 - 12:05 PM

VANCOUVER - A team of Vancouver-based researchers has uncovered the dating secrets of male black widow spiders — specifically, how they avoid being eaten by their mates.

A pair of graduate students and their biology professor at Simon Fraser University set out to determine how male black widows approach females without being mistaken for prey on the web.

They found male spiders shake their abdomens to produce distinct vibrations to indicate they are a potential mate, and not dinner.

In contrast, house flies and crickets produce short, high-pitched vibrations, which signal to the female spider that food is waiting.

The paper, published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, says not much is known about how spiders use their silk webs to communicate.

A news release associated with the study even described the process as "twerking," a nod to the hip-shaking dance made infamous by pop star Miley Cyrus.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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