Spiders generally don’t carry hankies. So when a gentleman spider of a newly discovered Australian species wants to get a lady’s attention, he waves the next best thing: his paddles.
The male of Jotus remus, a jumping spider about the size of an apple seed, boasts an unusual heart-shaped structure on both of his third legs. (See "Surprise: Jumping Spiders Can See More Colors Than You Can.")
In a bizarre ritual, an amorous male hides on the underside of a leaf and thrusts the paddle high enough for a female on the other side of the leaf to see it. The researchers know of no other jumping spider that conducts such a peekaboo courtship—nor of one that has built-in paddles on its legs, according to a study published January 7 in the journal Peckhamia.
Study co-author and independent spider expert David Hill has scrutinized