Stefan ter Haar

Externer M.Sc. Kandidat

Zoologisches Institut und Museum
Allgemeine und Systematische Zoologie

Loitzer Str. 26
17489 Greifswald


Research Interests

I am interested in sexual selection and sexual conflict, and how these processes contribute to shaping reproductive behaviour. I previously studied how various operational sex ratios affect housefly mating behaviour. Combining my interest with my fascination for the biology and behaviour of arachnids and insects has led to my current master project.

Spiders mostly rely on mechanical and chemical cues to sense their environment. Their most commonly known feature of silk usage is most suitable for relaying substrate-born vibrations and plays a major role in prey localization & capture, especially in web-building species. Male spiders have evolved courtship behaviours that involve vibrational signaling to females. As female spiders are known to cannibalize males to varying degrees between species, it is hypothesized that male vibratory signaling serves as species-recognition and to reduce female aggression and prevent cannibalism. Moreover, vibrational signaling can be energetically taxing and could therefore be an honest indication of male quality.

Nursery web spiders are wandering hunting spiders that do not build webs to catch prey, yet males still send substrate-borne vibration during courtship. The aim of my project is to discover the function of this male vibratory courtship in the nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis.

Curriculum Vitae
Master: Ecology & Evolution, track Evolutionary Biology at the University of Groningen from September 2020 – present.
Bachelor: Biology, major Ecology & Evolution at the University of Groningen from September 2016 – March 2020.
Bachelor Thesis: Sexual cannibalism in spiders: mating and foraging strategy.