Science News: Spider senses capture world beyond our perception

UC biologist Nathan Morehouse explains how color is used in spider courtship

Science News highlighted the remarkable behavior of colorful jumping spiders uncovered by University of Cincinnati's Institute for Research in Sensing.

UC associate professor Nathan Morehouse, director of the institute, has been studying the remarkable color vision of jumping spiders around the world.

Nathan Morehouse,  National Science Foundation grant to study spider vision around the world. 711H Rieveschl

Nathan Morehouse. Photo/Jay Yocis/UC Creative + Brand

The male of the species Habronattus pyrrithrix dances in front of a potential suitor, waving its colorful lime-green forelegs in the air above its brick-red face. When it has the female's attention, it raises its back legs one at a time in a graceful arc to show off the vibrant orange colors on its joints.

“He’s using motion to influence where she’s looking, and then he’s using color to hold her attention there,” Morehouse told Science News.

Experiments in his lab showed how female spiders were most interested when male spiders combined movement and color.

“Part of why I study insects and spiders is this act of imagination that is required to really try to get into the completely alien world and mind and perceptual reality of these animals,” Morehouse said.

Read the Science News story.

Featured image at top: A jumping spider uses color and movement to attract a mate. Photo/Nathan Morehouse

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