Menu

The Colorful World of Spiders

Specialized filters allow jumping spiders to see more colors than scientists previously thought.

May 19, 2015
Amanda B. Keener

FLICKR, DONALD JUSA

Color plays a significant role in the courtship rituals of some jumping spiders, like Habronattus pyrrithrix. Male jumping spiders can be covered in patterns that include bright reds and oranges. Despite this, scientists have only identified photoreceptors for green and ultraviolet (UV) light in the eyes of H. pyrrithrix. In a study published in Current Biology this week (May 18), researchers at the University of Pittsburgh reported on their discovery of a light-filtering strategy H. pyrrithrix uses to broaden its color perception.

“It’s a sweet way of solving the problem,” Gil Menda, a neuroethologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who was not involved in the study, told National Geographic.

The Pittsburgh team sectioned H. pyrrithrix retinas and shined light through them to determine which colors the arachnid can detect. In addition to the green and UV photoreceptors, the team found a red pigment in the center of two of the animals’ retinas. They determined that the pigment serves as a long-pass filter that only lets red light pass through to underlying photoreceptors. This strategy essentially provides the spiders with a third color channel that can discern reds and oranges. The researchers also found the filtering pigment in four other species of jumping spiders.

Because H. pyrrithrix can perceive UV and green wavelengths in addition to the reds and oranges, study coauthor Nathan Morehouse, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Pittsburgh told National Geographic that “in principle, they can see an even broader spectrum of colors than we can.” 

September 2018

The Muscle Issue

The dynamic tissue reveals its secrets

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress, a Folsom, California based leading supplier of human biospecimens, announces the release of frozen Peripheral Blood Leukopaks. Leukopaks provide an enriched source of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with low granulocyte and red blood cells that can be used in a variety of downstream cell-based applications.

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

Vector Laboratories, a leader in the development and manufacture of labeling and detection reagents for biomedical research, introduces VECTASHIELD® Vibrance™ – antifade mounting media that delivers significant improvements to the immunofluorescence workflow.

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Download this white paper from Bertin Technologies to learn how to extract and analyze lipid samples from various models!

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Launches CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin for Process Protein Purification

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced the launch of two new chromatography media for process protein purification: CHT Ceramic Hydroxyapatite XT Media and Nuvia HP-Q Resin.