Sunday, 24 May 2015

How spiders create the sounds of love

By Victoria GillScience reporter, BBC News

23 May 2015 

The 'purring' reveals how the wolf spiders use the surface they are on to transmit the sound of their courtship song

Scientists have revealed the musical, flirtatious side of a common spider.

Alexander Sweger and Prof George Uetz from the University of Cincinnati recorded the percussive courtship display of the so-called purring wolf spider Gladicosa gulosa.

They played the male spiders' call to females, revealing that they used leaves to transmit sound.

They presented the findings at the Acoustical Society of America annual meeting.

The researchers think this could provide clues about the earliest evolution of sound-based communication.

When the team started their research on this North American spider species they found that the few papers that had been published on it mentioned the sound it made - a quiet "chorus of spiders" that ecologists reported hearing in the forests of the US.

Most spiders use and detect physical vibrations, sensing through their legs the presence of one another, and of prey and predators.

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