Most web spiders use chemical and vibratory cues for intersexual communication prior to mating. Little is known regarding the behavior of the web spider, Pholcus manueli Gertsch, 1937. In the laboratory, we examined the behavior of males in female webs. Some webs were washed and allowed to air dry. Both washed and unwashed webs were tested with and without females. Overall, male behaviors were similar to courtship reported for other pholcid species and their frequency was related to male size. Web washing delayed the initiation of activity, reduced abdomen flexes, and increased the likelihood of pedipalp expansion and aggression. The presence of females caused males to initiate movement sooner and to increase silk pulling behavior. These results suggest that courtship is multimodal and that the vibratory dialog between males and females works along with chemical communication in this species. Hopefully, these data will enhance future studies of sexual selection in pholcids.
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Vol. 44 • No. 1