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USA Today Tech features UC spider research

USA Today Tech highlighted novel spider research by biologists at the University of Cincinnati.

Scientists know that color is important in mating displays among dazzling jumping spiders, some of which have electric blues and blazing reds to rival a peacock. But UC biology professor George Uetz discovered that color is equally important to wolf spiders, which have understated brown and black camouflage that helps them hide in the leaf litter.

"The assumption was wolf spiders don't pay attention to color. But we found that isn't really true," Uetz said.

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Wolf spiders have dichromatic vision that allows them to see green and ultraviolet. Uetz's research found that the spiders are especially sensitive to light in the green wavelength.

The research found that female wolf spiders responded more favorably to videos of courting males that had a green hue instead of simple monochrome. Sharper contrast in the videos also prompted a bigger reaction from the females.

Uetz and his students have authored many journal articles on the fascinating behaviors and incredible sensory abilities of wolf spiders.

Featured image at top: A wolf spider (Schizocosa ocreata). Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

George Uetz holds up a clear container holding a spider.

UC biology professor George Uetz holds up a wolf spider in his lab. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services