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"Peacock spider" (Maratus volans)

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Uploaded on Mar 23, 2011

Courtship of peacock spider Maratus volans from Australia, one of the most amazing spectacles in the animal world, filmed, edited and narrated by myself (Jurgen Otto). This was the FIRST EVER footage of this spider and I don't know anybody who has actually seen this behaviour in this species before I did ! But what I am mostly proud of its that I was able to shoot the entire video in the wild, and with a very simple setup (Canon 7d SLR), in contrast to all other footage of this species that has since been broadcast. I am also proud of f the fact that with this video I introduced David Attenborough to peacock spiders a couple of years ago !

If you watch the episode courtship in "Life stories" you might get the impression that the female of this species eats the male after they mated. This is "artistic licence". I watched them mating countless times and have not once observed the male being eaten by the female after they mated. Males get sometimes eaten by females, that is true, but this does not seem to involve the male they actually mated with, but rather those that are "silly" enough to continue to court gravid (fertilised) females. From the female's perspective these males have become useless as partner but are very useful as additional nourishment for her developing brood, they die anyway at the end of the season, whether they are eaten by females or not.

I also doubt that females judge the male's performance and eat those that don't stack up. From what I have seen virgin females will mate with pretty much every male they come across, it seems to be more a matter of the right place and time rather than the quality of its performance, but I believe that is still being studied and it will be interesting to see the results of that. If a female is not happy to mate with a particular female her first reaction is to walk away from him, as you would expect.

Check out my other movies Peacock Spider 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 which show a couple of different species http://www.youtube.com/user/Peacocksp.... For updates on my peacock spider filming or photography visit http://www.facebook.com/PeacockSpider

For still photographs of this species visit my flickr album
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59431731...

Related species
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59431731...

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