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Light environment interacts with visual displays in a species-specific manner in multimodal signaling wolf spiders

Citation

McGinley, Rowan; Starrett, James; Bond, Jason; Hebets, Eileen (2022), Light environment interacts with visual displays in a species-specific manner in multimodal signaling wolf spiders, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cjsxksn7t

Abstract

Light availability is highly variable, yet predictable, over various timescales and the light environment is expected to play an important role in the evolution of visual signals. Courtship displays within the wolf spider genus Schizocosa always involve the use of substrate borne vibrations, however, there is substantial variation between species in the use of visual displays. We assessed the impact of light intensity on the courtship of four species of Schizocosa that vary in their use of visual signals during courtship. To examine the effects of the light environment on mating success and courtship effort in each species, we ran behavioral trials at three light intensities (bright, dim and dark). We also examined each species’ circadian activity patterns. We found multiple effects of the light environment and these varied between species. Circadian activity patterns also differed between species and sexes. Our results suggest that dim-light might favor more conspicuous visual displays, while less conspicuous displays might be favored in bright light conditions. Additionally, we found evidence for light-dependent changes in selection on male traits, illustrating that short-term changes in light intensity have the potential for strong effects on the dynamics of sexual selection.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: 1556153

National Science Foundation, Award: 1836894