When it comes to courtship, persistence is key—but it doesn’t guarantee results. Take it from this pair of jumping spiders.
The multicolored male—let’s call him Simon—is dogged in his pursuit of the gray female, also of the habronattus pyrrithrix genus—let’s call her Jeannette. While Simon raises his two front legs, wiggles his abdomen, and even lifts his hind legs à la fire hydrant, Jeannette scratches her legs, grooms her tarsi—tarsi being the tips of a spider’s pedipalps, or small front appendages—and absentmindedly turns around.
The camera pans around to give us this titillating courtship from all angles, a ritual that relies on strong visual elements and vibrations. Meanwhile, Simon is still tapping his tiny front legs in the air. At minute 4:55, he finally steps it up a notch, lifting two hind legs up in the style of a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon protagonist while his front legs go into a tapping frenzy.
For a moment, Jeannette is like “Whoa! I’m into it,” but then Simon goes back to what he was doing before and she’s like, “Eh.” That is, until 5:45, when he returns to full throttle. The tapping gets out of control. Simon even tries to drum his front legs on Jeannette.
This is when Jeannette comes into play, raising her front legs into the air to meet Simon’s—and it’s not for a game of Patty Cake. For a moment, Simon does not pick up on the body language, maybe misinterpreting it as some reciprocal tapping action. But then Jeannette is back in control, staring down Simon until he stops twitching. Jeannette turns around and scratches her leg again. She half-contemplates Simon one last time with her many bright beady eyes, and then walks away, her delicate spinnerets quickly fading into the distance.
Better luck next time, Simon.
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