The male peacock jumping spider must dance for his life. In order to woo a female and avoid being eaten, he performs an intricate dance using a brilliantly colored fan attached to his abdomen. If the female approves, he is allowed to mate. If not, he becomes her next meal.
[Narrator] This is the Australian peacock jumping spider, a miracle mover who can't afford to put a foot wrong.
He's only the size of a grain of rice.
Yes, he's that small... which, in a place like this, means almost anything could be dangerous.
(whimsical synthesized music) But in fact, the biggest threat of all is the female he's after.
The silken road to finding her is littered with the remains of unsuccessful suitors.
A stark warning that if he doesn't get this right, it could be his last day on the planet.
(tense music) She ambushes him from behind.
Now, what can he do to win her over?
(whimsical waltz music) Dance, dance for his very life.
He unfurls his striking fan and begins his routine.
Its elaborate shape and vibrant colors resemble a tiny peacock's tail.
But even his party outfit and his best moves aren't impressing her.
Time to step it up a level.
As is so often the case in the mating game, it's not the males but the females who call the shots.
(whimsical waltz music) The more compelling the dance, the more likely she is to accept his advances.
This mating ritual can go on for up to 50 minutes.
But at last, his performance is rewarded, and they mate.
He's done his bit, and satisfied her needs, but now, her need is over.
So, she kills him anyway.
After all, his body will be the perfect nourishment for their eggs.