Psychology Today: The amazing world of jumping spiders

Spiders put extraordinary vision to work with complex behaviors

Psychology Today highlighted work by a University of Cincinnati biologist to explain the varied and unusual ways that jumping spiders communicate with each other.

Many jumping spiders see far more colors than we can see, which helps to explain their vibrant and rich colors. Understanding how these creatures communicate and navigate their worlds gives us a better appreciation for our own perceptions, Psychology Today columnist Marc Bekoff wrote in an essay.

"By de-centering humans and considering the ways in which other animals negotiate their own worlds that usually intersect with our own, we should come to appreciate and respect them more and let them live alongside us as they've evolved to do," Bekoff wrote.

The essay referenced spider research by associate professor Nathan Morehouse in UC's College of Arts and Sciences.

“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 told Science News.

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

UC associate professor Nathan Morehouse has studied the vision of spiders around the world. He is director of UC's new Institute for Research in Sensing. Photo/Jay Yocis/UC Creative + Brand

Jumping spiders put their extraordinary vision to good use in courtship displays that take advantage of their vivid and brilliant colors, Morehouse said.

Morehouse said one species of jumping spider uses movement to attract the female's attention and color to hold her interest.

"A 'spider-centric' view of the ways in which the eight eyes that jumping spiders use in their worlds opens our own two eyes to the remarkable ways in which they are able to survive and thrive in very demanding and challenging environments, many of which we dominate and in which we try to get rid of them," Bekoff concluded.

Read the Psychology Today essay.

Baby jumping spiders can see nearly as well as their much bigger parents. Photo/Daniel Zurek

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