Male reproductive performance can vary with condition, age and future reproductive opportunities. Web-building spiders are ideal models to examine the effects of senescence on fitness-related behaviours due to strong selection on male courtship to reduce pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism. Argiope keyserlingi spiders generate courtship vibrations, or ‘shudders’, that reduce female aggression. We found that male A. keyserlingi courtship slowed with chronological age. Older males took longer to travel across the courtship thread, and overall number of shudders increased. Males retained some ability to modulate courtship quality (shudder duration and number of rocks within each shudder) in response to female quality. A change in courtship performance over time, despite strong selection for repeatability, indicates that ageing in male A. keyserlingi may have direct impacts on reproductive performance.
- Vibratory stimuli