Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Hemipteran defensive odors trigger predictable color biases in jumping spider predators


Vickers, Michael; Taylor, Lisa (2020), Hemipteran defensive odors trigger predictable color biases in jumping spider predators, Dryad, Dataset,


Multimodal warning displays often pair one signal modality (odor) with a second modality (color) to avoid predation. Experiments with bird predators suggest these signal components interact synergistically, with aversive odors triggering otherwise hidden aversions to particular prey colors. In a recent study, this phenomenon was found in a jumping spider (Habronattus trimaculatus), with the defensive odor from a coreid bug (Acanthocephala femorata) triggering an aversion to red. Here, we explore how generalizable this phenomenon is by giving H. trimaculatus the choice between red or black prey in the presence or absence of defensive odors secreted from (1) eastern leaf-footed bugs (Leptoglossus phyllopus, Hemiptera), (2) grass stinkbugs (Mormidea pama, Hemiptera), (3) Asian ladybird beetles (Harmonia axyridis, Coleoptera), and (4) eastern lubber grasshoppers (Romalea microptera, Orthoptera). As expected, in the presence of the hemipteran odors, spiders were less likely to attack red prey (compared to no odor). Unexpectedly, the beetle and grasshopper odors did not bias spiders away from red. Our results with the hemipteran odors were unique to red; follow-up experiments indicated that these odors did not affect biases for/against green prey. We discuss our findings in the context of generalized predator foraging behavior and the functions of multimodal warning displays. 


The attached excel file provides data for "Hemipteran defensive odors trigger predictable color biases in jumping spider predators". This excel file uses four separate worksheets labeled for each experiment. Each experiment corresponds to one of four odors obtained from a chemically-defended insect (Experiment 1: Leptoglossus phyllopus; Experiment 2: Mormidea pama; Experiment 3: Harmonia axyridis; Experiment 4: Romalea microptera) which are located on color coded worksheets (as seen at the bottom of the file).

We recorded the following data points for all four experiments which are separated and defined by the following column headers: spider ID; sex (male or female) and stage (adult or juvenile); size (body length estimated in mm); either red or green (color of termites paired with black termites during choice tests); treatment (control = odor absent; odor = odor present from a chemically-defended insect); exit vial time (seconds); orientation time (seconds); orientation color (the color of termite the spider first oriented to); attack time (seconds); evaluation time (the difference between time to orient and an attack measured in seconds); attack color (color of termite attacked).  


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1557867

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1831751