The jumping spider Maevia inclemens (Walckenaer, 1837) is unusual because there are two male types, tufted (T) and gray (G). We investigated the risks of predation associated with the different courtship strategies by testing the response of the predatory jumping spider Phidippus audax (Hentz, 1845) to T and G courtship display, to ascertain if the two morphs were equally noticeable. We then tested the courting responses of T and G in the presence of a conspecific mate and a potential predator (P. audax). For the first experiment, we used computer-animation techniques to present two different views of courting males: face-on view as a female might see a courting male; and 45°-above view as may be seen from the perspective of a predator hunting in the vegetation. Visual orientation distance to the courting male images was used as an estimate of predation risk. Results demonstrated that risk of visual detection was not equal for the males; P. audax oriented to G at significantly greater distances than to T. From the 45°-above view, the apparent size of courting G males measured approximately three times greater than that of T males, suggesting that from this point of view, T may be less conspicuous to predators. In our second experiment, T and G responded differently when courting a conspecific female if a live predator had recently been or remained in view of the male. Fewer G males courted than T males and the courtship latency was significantly longer for G than for T. The visibility of T and G males to both females and potential predators may help to understand how these different, but equally successful, courtship strategies are maintained.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1