Absence of social facilitation of courtship in the wolf spider, Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz) (Araneae Lycosidae)

J. Andrew Roberts*, Emily Galbraith, Jenai Milliser, Phillip W. Taylor, George W. Uetz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Males of many animal species are reproductively limited by the difficulty and time costs of finding mates. Males of such species should be selected to take advantage of any cues that might reveal the location of prospective mates. Cues to female location are not restricted to those produced by females, but might also include the highly apparent courtship displays of males that have already found a female. By "eavesdropping" on these courting rivals, initiating sexual displays when courting rivals are detected (i.e., social facilitation of displays); males might effectively exploit the mate-searching efforts of their rivals. We tested the possibility that male Schizocosa ocreata wolf spiders exhibit social facilitation of courtship behaviors using a combination of live behavioral trials and video playback with single stimulus presentations. When exposed to visual cues from another male, male S. ocreata can discern the presence of another individual whether that individual is courting or not. However, we found no evidence of social facilitation of courtship or chemoexploratory behaviors in response to seismic or visual cues presented in isolation or combined. While complex, multimodal, male courtship signals are important in mate choice by female S. ocreata, males do not appear to use these cues to socially facilitate their own courtship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalActa Ethologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


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