Friday, January 17, 2014

A brief article about spider communication

I am interested in animal communication and how it differs from human communication (or how human communication evolved or came from animal communication), and I thought this article was interesting.  It's about how the male 'black widow spider' communicates with the female black widow spider to ensure that he is properly identified as a sexual partner and not as a threat (something that might cause harm). The black widow spider is a very poisonous spider and can even be deadly to humans.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

weird - strange, unusual

to twerk - this is a type of dance move which is considered very sexual in nature. 

shaking their booties - a 'booty' is a slang term for a person's butt (the area of your body you sit on). To shake your booty is an older slang expression which meant to dance.

the abdomen is the stomach area.  Insects have three body parts: head, thorax and abdomen.  Spiders have only two body parts: the cephalothorax (head + thorax) and the abdomen.

mates - sexual partners

prey - something to be hunted. A predator hunts prey.

it pays to do something - it is worth it to do something, it will benefit you if you do something

a morsel - a little piece of a meal. So if someone says, "Why don't you try some of my dish?"  You might say, "OK, I'll just have a morsel, though."

jerking - pulling roughly and quickly

transmitting - sending

to mate - to have sex to have baby spiders (in this case)

exquisitely tuned - finely tuned or tuned to an extremely detailed amount.  

to detect something - to learn about the existence of something

a fly or cricket - two types of insects

to keep them docile - in this case docile means inactive; docile usually means submissive or willing to do what one is told to do

low amplitude - not violent vibrations

humming - this is a sound you might make if you don't know the words of a song..instead of singing you might hum.  A refrigerator also makes a humming sound while it is working.

a cannibal eats members of its own species

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It is inexpensive, funny and provides good reading, grammar and vocabulary exercises

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