Drinking blood makes vampire spider sexier

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Drinking blood makes vampire spider sexier

 

Category: Animal behaviour Animals Invertebrates Predators and prey Sex and reproduction Spiders

Posted on: October 27, 2009 8:30 AM, by Ed Yong
Source: http://scienceblogs.com

Even though its habitat is full of non-biting midges called "lake flies", it can tell the difference between these insects and the blood-carrying mozzies it carries. Robert Jackson from the University of Canterbury discovered this behaviour a few years ago and one of his colleagues, Fiona Cross, has now found that the blood isn't just a meal for the spiders, it's an aphrodisiac too.

Evarcha.jpg
Photo of E.culicivora eating a mosquito, by R. Jackson.

Cross made spiders choose between two adults of the opposite sex, by wafting their smells down a tube on different days and seeing which drew the choosy spider's attention for the longest time. The contenders had been fed on one of four diets: blood-fed female mosquitoes, sugar-fed female mosquitoes, male mosquitoes, or lake flies. 

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