The Animal Behavior Podcast

E06: Eileen Hebets on Arachnid Sensory Systems, Extreme Mating Behavior, and Science Communication

August 30, 2021 The Animal Behavior Podcast Season 1 Episode 6
The Animal Behavior Podcast
E06: Eileen Hebets on Arachnid Sensory Systems, Extreme Mating Behavior, and Science Communication
Show Notes

Episode Summary:

In this episode, Amy speaks with Eileen Hebets (@hebets_lab), a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and the current President of the Animal Behavior Society.

They start out discussing sensory systems and the evolution of multimodal communication in arachnids. Then, we learn about sexual cannibalism and the evolution of this terminal investment strategy by males in many spider species. They also talk about Eileen's research into cognition and learning in arachnids.

After the break, Amy and Eileen talk about the importance of basic research for innovation and discovery, as well as Eileen's experience learning to quantify and evaluate her science communication efforts.

This week's Two-Minute Takeaway comes from Emily Ray (@emilyjray21), a doctoral student at Louisiana State University studying filial cannibalism control in a maternal mouthbrooding cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni. Currently, she is investigating the sensory signals that drive parent-offspring recognition and aims to identify its neural correlates.

Select links relevant to today's show:

1. Barron, AB*, E.A. Hebets*, T.A. Cleland, C.L. Fitzpatrick, M.E. Hauber, & J.Stevens. 2015. FORUM: Embracing multiple definitions of learning. Trends in Neuroscience 38:405-407. (*shared first author)

2. Hebets, E. A. 2003.  Subadult experience influences adult mate choice in an arthropod: Exposed female wolf spiders prefer males of a familiar phenotype. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 100: 13390-13395. 

3. Learn about one of Eileen's ongoing outreach projects: Eight Legged Encounters


The Animal Behavior Podcast is created by Matthew Zipple (@MatthewZipple) and Amy Strauss (@avstrauss). If you like what you heard, please subscribe wherever you’re listening now, leave us a rating or review, and share us with your friends and colleagues.

You can contact us at and find us on Twitter (@AnimalBehavPod).

Our theme song is by Sally Street (@Rainbow_Road13), Assistant Professor in Evolutionary Anthropology at Durham University in the UK. You can find her on Sound Cloud here:

Musical transitions by André Gonçalves (@fieryangelsfell), a Researcher at the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University.

Our logo was designed by Adeline Durand-Monteil (@adelinedurandm), a Master’s Student in Ecology and Evolution. You can see more of Adeline's work on her website:

The Animal Behavior Podcast is produced with support from the Animal Behavior Society (@AnimBehSociety).