NA­TURE’S MOVERS AND SHAK­ERS

Hu­mans aren’t the only crea­tures to shake their booty in an ef­fort to woo po­ten­tial mates. Here are some of the an­i­mal king­dom’s best dancers. Bey­oncé, eat your heart out…

Guru Magazine - - LIFE - James Lloyd stud­ied physics at univer­sity and re­cently fin­ished a cli­mate science PhD. He’s now swapped semi­con­duc­tors for semi­colons, writ­ing about science and blog­ging at The Soft Anony­mous. James en­joys mu­sic mak­ing, hill walk­ing and try­ing to find the

Wolf Spi­der

To en­tice sexy-look­ing fe­males, the male wolf spi­der uses a strange kind of semaphore dance. He en­thu­si­as­ti­cally waves his feel­ers – or ‘palps’ –

in an elab­o­rate fash­ion, rather like a 1990s raver pulling shapes at the Haçienda. This im­pres­sive dance rou­tine re­quires so much en­ergy that the spi­der’s heart­beat triples while he’s per­form­ing. If she likes what she sees, the fe­male spi­der will tap her legs to en­cour­age the eight-legged lothario. Then, if suc­cess­ful, the dance will fin­ish with a mat­ing ses­sion, in which the male spi­der uses his palps to pump sperm into his be­sot­ted lover.

Man­akin Bird

The small man­akin birds that live in the Amer­i­can trop­ics are well known for their spec­tac­u­lar courtship rit­u­als. Some use their wing feath­ers to make buzzing and snap­ping noises; some fly around in cir­cles; whilst oth­ers wag­gle their bot­toms in the fe­male’s face. But noth­ing com­pares to the sight of a man­akin moon­walk­ing back­wards along a branch. That’s right... a bird do­ing a moon­walk. Back­wards. If the fe­male man­akin isn’t im­pressed by that, then she clearly isn’t fa­mil­iar with the works of Michael Jack­son.

White’s sea­horse

In one of na­ture’s most el­e­gant courtship dis­plays, White’s sea­horses – unique to the Aus­tralian coast – carry out a sub­lime ballet wor­thy of Anna Pavlova her­self. Be­fore mat­ing, the two life­long part­ners en­twine their tails, cir­cling one an­other and mir­ror­ing each other’s move­ments. Once this in­ti­mate pas de deux is com­plete, the fe­male de­posits her eggs into the pouch of the male sea­horse, who lov­ingly car­ries them un­til the tiny baby sea­horses are ready to emerge fully-formed. Awwww.

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