Manipulation of Color Patterns in Jumping Spiders for Use in Behavioral Experiments.


Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida; [Email]


In the field of behavioral ecology, many experiments are designed to investigate the evolutionary purposes of colorful traits in the context of sexual selection and predation. Methods are various but mostly consist of modifying the color patterns of individuals with diverse colorants. Such techniques have been used across many vertebrate taxa, particularly in birds, but have remained underdeveloped for invertebrates because of the difficulty of effectively manipulating color in small organisms. Instead, to manipulate the appearance of invertebrates, scientists have usually modified the lighting environment to filter out certain wavelengths. However, such a method affects not only the phenotypic trait of interest but the entire appearance of the individual and its surrounding. Here, scaling down the techniques previously used on colorful birds, we present ways of manipulating the colors of small arthropods, using equally emblematic but understudied species: the colorful jumping spiders.

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