Sunday, 29 November 2015

Tarantulas evolved blue colour 'at least eight times'

By Jonathan Webb
Science reporter, BBC News

28 November 2015 

Tarantulas have evolved almost exactly the same shade of vibrant blue at least eight separate times.

That is the conclusion of a study by US biologists, exploring how the colour is created in different tarantula species.

The hue is caused by tiny structures inside the animals' hairs, but those shapes vary across the family tree.

This suggests, the researchers say, that the striking blue is not driven by sexual selection - unlike many other bright colours in the animal kingdom.

This argument is also supported by the fact that tarantulas have poor colour vision, and do not appear to show off their hairy blue body parts during courtship.
Blue branches

Nonetheless, Bor-Kai Hsiung and his colleagues found that 40 out of 53 groupings (genera) of tarantula exhibit a very vibrant blue.

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