London: Spiders eavesdrop on other males and copy their courtship signals as a likely means of stealing their mate, according to a new study.
As male wolf spiders go searching for a mate, the study said, it appears they eavesdrop, match and even try to outdo the mating dances of their successful rivals, a behaviour seen mainly in vertebrate animals.
“Eavesdropping on the communication of others is widespread among animals and often serves as a means of obtaining information,” said David Clark, a professor of biology at Alma College, who is also the lead author and co-investigator on the study.
“For example, studies of birds, mammals and fish have shown that male bystanders observing male-male contests can learn about the strengths of potential opponents, while female observers may copy the mate choices of others.
“This new discovery shows that male wolf spiders also eavesdrop on the visual signals of courting males,” he stated.
Those visual signals included a leg-tapping mating dance of the male wolf spiders.
The study appeared this month in Biology Letters, a journal of the Royal Society of London.