Most spiders neither make nor receive airborne sounds. But there is one exception. A specific kind of wolf spider makes purring noises when seeking a mate. Find out what gets a female spider in the mood.

According to the University of Cincinnati, spiders don’t have any physical structures that will let them hear airborne sounds, which means they haven’t heard my shameful screams when I see them crawling across my desk towards me. They do, however, pick up on vibrations. Web building spiders obviously learn to distinguish the vibrations that mean prey is caught in their trap. Even wolf spiders, which eschew webs in favor of stalking and pouncing on their prey, make vibrations when they want to call a mate.

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One kind of wolf spider, Gladicosa gulosa, vibrates leaves to produce an audible purring sound. This gets females nearby tremendously excited. The females respond a little bit even when they are played the sound. Female wolf spiders don’t have ears, but the vibration traveling through the air causes the leaves that the females are perched on to vibrate in a way that they recognize. Essentially, wolf spiders came up with a form of “radio,” a wave that they can’t hear themselves but can pick up on using equipment.

If you want to hear a wolf spider’s purr, check it out at Can a Spider “Sing”?

Image: Animal Bioacoustics