Of all the wolf spiders (Araneae: Lycosidae), the genus Schizocosa Chamberlin 1904 is probably the most widely studied, and has become an established model in studies of behavior, sexual selection, and speciation. Much of the work to date involves the complex, often multimodal courtship behaviors and secondary sexual traits used by males to elicit receptivity from potential mates. Schizocosa bilineata (Emerton 1885) is one of those species where males possess decorative tufts of bristles on the forelegs that likely play a role in sexual selection, but little is known of male courtship behavior or its role in mate choice. In the present study, we provide the first description of visual and seismic behaviors performed by males in response to female silk and chemical cues, and examine male-female behavioral interactions in live mating trials. Males clearly recognized and responded to female chemical cues by displaying several species-specific visual signaling behaviors accompanied by seismic signals from stridulation. As these behaviors rarely occurred in the absence of female cues, we suggest they function primarily in a courtship context. In live mating trials, females typically responded to male courtship with visual receptivity behaviors, which were seen prior to mounting and copulation. While both visual and seismic signals of males are clearly implicated in courtship and mate choice, future work will be necessary to fully understand the interaction between modalities in this species. The description of behavior provided here should help resolve the relationship between male ornamentation and courtship behavior in the genus Schizocosa.
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Vol. 38 • No. 3