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Lack of neophobic responses to color in a jumping spider that uses color cues when foraging (Habronattus pyrrithrix)

Citation

Vickers, Michael; Heisey, Madison; Taylor, Lisa (2021), Lack of neophobic responses to color in a jumping spider that uses color cues when foraging (Habronattus pyrrithrix), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kd51c5b5z

Abstract

Chemically defended prey often advertise their toxins with bright and conspicuous colors. To understand why such colors are effective at reducing predation, we need to understand the psychology of key predators. In bird predators, there is evidence that individuals avoid novelty - including prey of novel colors (with which they have had no prior experience). Moreover, the effect of novelty is strongest for colors that are typically associated with aposematic prey (e.g., red, orange, yellow). Given these findings in the bird literature, color neophobia has been argued to be a driving force in the evolution of aposematism. However, no studies have yet asked whether invertebrate predators respond similarly to novel colors. Here, we tested whether naive lab-raised jumping spiders (Habronattus pyrrithrix) exhibit similar patterns of color neophobia to birds. Using color-manipulated living prey, we first color-exposed spiders to prey of two out of three colors (blue, green, or red), with the third color remaining novel. After this color exposure phase, we gave the spiders tests where they could choose between all three colors (two familiar, one novel). We found that H. pyrrithrix attacked novel and familiar-colored prey at equal rates with no evidence that the degree of neophobia varied by color. Moreover, we found no evidence that either prey novelty or color (nor their interaction) had an effect on which color first caught the spiders’ attention. We discuss these findings in the context of what is known about color neophobia in other animals and how this contributes to our understanding of aposematic signals.

Methods

The attached excel file provides data for "Lack of neophobic responses to color in a jumping spider that uses color cues when foraging (Habronattus pyrrithrix)". The attached excel file has two separate worksheets labeled for all tests described in the manuscript. On the first worksheet tab, we recorded the following data points: trial ID, the color termites (blue, green, or red), was the color considered to be novel (yes or no), and whether that color was attacked (yes or no). On the second worksheet tab, we recorded the following data points: spider ID, the color assigned to be novel, whether the attacked color was novel (yes or no), and latency to attack (time from trial start to attack measured in seconds). 

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1557867 to LAT

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1831751 to LAT

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Award: Hatch project 1016166

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Award: McIntire-Stennis project 1017978

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Award: Hatch project 1016166