Flash, Deception & Suicide: 10 Remarkable Tricks of Animal Mating as presented by: Discover Magazine

Driven by the forces of sexual selection, male—and, in some instances, female—animals have evolved a dizzying array of mating displays and rituals. For jumping spiders, mating can be an tricky affair—but not for the reasons you might think. According to a recent study published in Current Biology, jumping spiders communicate during courtship using ultraviolet B (UVB) light, which humans are unable to see. While scientists have long known that certain species use UVA light for communication, this was the first study to demonstrate that some are also able to detect shorter-wavelength UVB light. The male jumping spiders have specialized scales that glow white and green when exposed to UV light; in female spiders, the palps appeared green under UV light. And the absence of UVB light effectively killed the mood: As soon as either sex was exposed to light without ultraviolet rays, the other immediately lost interest in mating. While this male mandrill may look unfriendly, mandrills are social animals that live in large groups in Africa’s rainforests. Each pack is led by a dominant, alpha male. These brightly colored, or “fatted” alpha males—as seen in this picture—are the only ones to sire offspring, and have much higher levels of testosterone than the paler, “non-fatted” males. The red color on the male’s face and genitalia also indicate its dominance within the group. What the male fiddler crabs lack in body size, he more than makes up for in claws. The large claw, or cheliped—which looks like a fiddle when moved in conjunction with the smaller claw—is used for communication, courtship, and combat. The smaller claw is used for eating and building a burrow.

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