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Data from: Sexually dimorphic dorsal coloration in a jumping spider: testing a potential case of sex-specific mimicry

Citation

Cook, Collette; Powell, Erin; McGraw, Kevin; Taylor, Lisa (2021), Data from: Sexually dimorphic dorsal coloration in a jumping spider: testing a potential case of sex-specific mimicry, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.zpc866t7t

Abstract

To avoid predation, many animals mimic behaviors and/or coloration of dangerous prey. Here we examine potential sex-specific mimicry in the jumping spider Habronattus pyrrithrix. Previous work proposed that males’ conspicuous dorsal coloration paired with characteristic leg-waving behavior (i.e., false antennation) may imperfectly mimic hymenopteran insects, affording protection to males during mate-searching and courtship. In contrast, less active females are cryptic and display less leg-waving. Here we test the hypothesis that sexually dimorphic dorsal color patterns in H. pyrrithrix are most effective when paired with sex-specific behaviors. We manipulated spider dorsal coloration with makeup to model the opposite sex and exposed them to a larger salticid predator. We predicted that males painted like females should suffer higher predation rates than sham-control males. Likewise, females painted like males should suffer higher predation rates than sham-control females. Contrary to expectations, spiders with male-like coloration were attacked more than those with female-like coloration, regardless of their actual sex. Moreover, males were more likely to be captured, and were captured sooner, than females (regardless of color pattern). With these unexpected negative results, we discuss alternative hypotheses for the functions of H. pyrrithrix colors, as well as the evolution of defensive coloration generally.

Methods

All methods are described in the accompanying manuscript.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: NSF IOS-1557867

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1831751

National Science Foundation, Award: NSF IOS-1831751