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FACT: Not only do males have this impressive display. But they have to dance to attract a mate. If it is not good enough, the result could be deadly!
The red, blue and black colored males have flap-like extensions of the abdomen with white hairs that can be folded down. They are used for display during mating: the male raises his abdomen, then expands and raises the flaps so that the abdomen forms a white-fringed, circular field of color. The species, and indeed the whole genus Maratus have been compared to peacocks in this respect. The third pair of legs is also raised for display, showing a brush of black hairs and white tips. These legs are also used in a clapping motion to further attract a female's attention. While approaching the female, the male vibrates his abdomen while waving raised legs and tail, and dances from side to side.
If the male continues his dance when the female is not interested, she attempts to attack, kill, and feed on him; she may also do this after mating (sexual cannibalism). The male may escape by jumping. The behavior of the female M. volans suggests why the males have developed unique sexual dimorphic features and courtship behavior.
The dance can last between 4 and 50 minutes! The male can die of exhaustion Jakob Bro-Jergensen states that He explains that the potential sexual success outweighs the relatively low costs of the mating ritual. The mating behaviour of M. volans is an example of runaway sexual selection where the male risks death in attempting to mate!
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