The scientists recorded the vibrations produced by males of both species, and those produced by common raven items, and compared them. They found that black widow courtship signals differed more from raven vibrations than tramp spider courtship signals did. Black widow males vibrating their abdomens created vibrations with a discrete form to those made by prey items, and besides at an particularly low-amplitude – much placid ( see the below Notes to Editor for links to videos ). They then played the recordings back to female black widow to see how they reacted and found the females were more probable to attack when they heard ‘loud ‘, prey-like vibrations, but were less probable to respond to ‘quiet ‘ male-like vibrations. The scientists think this research could open up lots of concern angles for studying the interactions between male and female spiders. Scott says : “ One of the most agitate things we saw was that sometimes, female black widows actually responded with abdomen ’ twitches ’ when we played low amplitude ’ whisper-like ’ vibrations to them through their world wide web. These abdominal movements by the female undoubtedly transmit their own vibrations through the world wide web. While this study focused on how males communicate to a female that they are not a meal, but a electric potential mate, it would be very interest to look more at the female ’ s behavior, and any signals she may be transmitting back to the male. ”
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Notes to Editor A meal or a male ? The ‘whispers ‘ of black widow males do not trigger a predaceous response in females
Samantha Vibert, Catherine Scott and Gerhard Gries
Frontiers in Zoology 11 : 4
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