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Jumping spiders buzz, thump when dancing

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10:04am, June 29, 2004

From Oaxaca, Mexico, at a meeting of the Animal Behavior Society

Some jumping spiders, famed for eye-catching ornamentation and courtship dancing, have recently been recognized as accomplished vibration artists as well. New tests show that among Habronattus dossenus, a male's display—even if it's visually striking—probably won't succeed unless he sends the right seismic messages.

Jumping spiders have large eyes, which give them the look of "surprised teddy bears," says Damian Elias of Cornell University. Their bodies sport colored patterns and hair tufts, which a courting male shows off as he waves and flicks his legs during his slow approach to a female.

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