Document Detail

Colourful orb-weaving spiders, Nephila pilipes, through a bee's eyes.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15201295     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Many orb-weaving spiders in the tropics forage in open sites during the day and some of them have both bright and dark colourations. The conspicuous UV-reflective colour markings of these spiders have been reported to be attractive to visually oriented prey and thus could increase the spiders' foraging success. Using a combination of field and laboratory studies, we examine whether or not the body colouration of orb-weaving spiders exhibits optical properties that are attractive to insect prey from the viewpoint of insect visual physiology. We compared the prey interception rates and colour contrasts of the typical and melanic morphs of the giant wood spider, Nephila pilipes. Results of the field study showed that the typical morph caught significantly more insects than the melanic morph. Colour contrasts calculated from spectral reflectances of the background and body surface of spiders showed that the brightly coloured body parts of the typical morph exhibited rather high values, but those of the dark body parts were below the discrimination threshold. The differential colour contrasts of body parts generated a visual signal unlike that of a spider but rather like certain forms of food resources. On the other hand, the melanic morphs did not have bright colouration and the colour contrasts of every part of the body were significantly higher than the threshold, making the contour of spiders quite clear to bees.
I-Min Tso; Chih-Wei Lin; En-Cheng Yang
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  207     ISSN:  0022-0949     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2004 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-06-17     Completed Date:  2005-02-24     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2631-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biology, Tunghai University, Taichung 407, Taiwan.
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MeSH Terms
Bees / physiology*
Color Perception / physiology*
Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
Pigmentation / physiology*
Predatory Behavior / physiology
Regression Analysis
Spiders / physiology*

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