The animal kingdom is filled with species that have some pretty fancy footwork. These dances are performed for a variety of reasons including scaring off rivals, confusing prey, and impressing females. Watch the videos below to see some of the wildest contenders in this animal dance off!
Throw Your Hands in the Air Dance
Male peacock spiders know how to bust a move! These spiders may be tiny, only reaching about an eighth of an inch long, but they don’t let size stop them from putting on a big show. Their dance starts by waving their legs in the air like they just don’t care, but then things get crazy! The male vibrates its abdomen and then, just like a peacock, raises its brightly coloured tail flaps.
Crane Courtship Dance
From the looks of the whooping crane courtship dance, these birds are pretty romantic. Their elaborate courtship dance involves leaps, sweeps, wing flaps, head tosses, and flinging objects like feathers and grass.
High-speed Moonwalk Dance
Male birds of some species will gather in small groups called leks to perform their courtship dance. The main goal for males of these species is to impress females that visit the lek. In many cases, a single male at the lek, like the one with the best dance, will end up mating with nearly all the females that visit the lek. In red-capped manakins, the dance involves males pivoting back and forth in a moonwalk fashion, snapping their wings together, darting between branches and circling their perch. The females are the judges of this display and they prefer males who can dance the fastest and are the most coordinated.
The Click Hop Dance
Birds of paradise are a flashy bunch and they put on quite a show when they dance! The males will expand the feathers around their breast shield and flick their cape feathers forward, over and around their head to make a black circle with blue feathers and eye spots in the centre. Once their costume is on, the bird will then hop around the female making clicking noises and wing movements.
Worker bees are a busy bunch, spending their days off collecting pollen and nectar to bring back to the hive. Finding food can be a tough job so to make it easier bees share directions to the best foraging spots with each other. Instead of drawing a map to the nearest flower, bees tell each other the directions to food by dancing. How cool is that?! The steps in this dance are pretty simple; wiggling back and forth in one direction then looping in a half circle, repeat the wiggle, and circle back around to complete the circle.
Find My Way Dance
Once a “roller” dung beetle has a pile of dung, they sometimes need to move away quickly with their dung ball to try to avoid competing over it with other beetles. Competition for dung among these beetles is high because it is an important food resource and is also used as a nutrient source for their babies. Before they get moving though, the dung beetle needs to know which direction to go to avoid other beetles. To figure this out the beetle performs a dance. First the beetle climbs up on top of their dung ball and then spins around in circles. Scientists believe this dance helps them pick up celestial cues which guide them so they can move away in a straight line, rolling their dung ball with them.
Confuse Your Prey Dance
These cute animals hunt with a kind of chaos that leaves everyone, even their prey, confused. If a stoat comes across a rabbit that it wants to eat, it does a kind of dance that involves running and jumping around in a zigzag pattern in order to hypnotize its prey. Then, while its prey is distracted, the stoat can get closer and closer until it’s ready to attack.
Diamondback rattle snake
The moves for this twisty dance seem to be all about who can get big and tall, probably because it’s actually combat. The males face off in their combat dance to win over nearby females. Talk about dancing to impress! Although this behavior has been seen in a number of rattlesnake species it is most common in diamondbacks.
Mimic Me Dance
When courting a mate, male seahorses break out the dance moves. The dance is a slow motion performance with the males mimicking the females, bowing their head and wrapping their tail around their potential partner.
Nice Feet Dance
The courtship dance of the blue-footed booby involves males and females showing off their feet. They will raise their feet up in a hopping dance. These birds hold their bright blue feet up against their white underparts, creating a striking contrast in colour. Their foot colour varies depending on their access to food. Females use this ‘how blue are your feet’ test to tell if a male is healthy (of good quality) and able to find food to feed to their young, if the female chooses to mate with the male.