Date: January 25, 2017
- Source: University of Cincinnati
While most arachnophiles will likely find tiny spider dancers who can "swagger like Jagger" entertaining, it's more than the dance that captures the fascination of one NSF-funded University of Cincinnati researcher.
It's their ability to see color and the bright and bold color patterns on the male body parts that has Nate Morehouse, UC biologist, looking inside the many eyes of two groups of vividly colored jumping spiders.
"It's rare to see bright colors on most spiders, as they don't usually have the visual sensitivity to perceive color beyond drab blues, greens and browns," says Morehouse. "But certain groups of jumping spiders deviate from this pattern.
"They not only possess a unique ability to see reds, yellows and oranges, but the males display those same bright colors on the exterior of their faces and other body parts [that] they use in their elaborate courtship dances."
Love at first sight
Looking at the two groups of Salticidae -- better known as jumping spiders -- which possess this rare ability to see color, Morehouse, an assistant professor of biology in UC's College of Arts and Sciences, found that these two groups see color using two completely different mechanisms.