Colour and movement

The North American jumping spider stands out from the crowd

A male North American Habronattus jumping spider is one of the rare groups that can see colour.
Thomas Shahan

The North American Habronattus jumping spider is not only brightly coloured but can see colours, too. In an effort to impress a female Habronattus, the male waves his legs in a colourful display during a very rhythmic mating-dance ritual.

“It’s rare to see bright colours on most spiders, as they don’t usually have the visual sensitivity to perceive colour beyond drab blues, greens and browns,” Nate Morehouse, a biologist at the University of Cincinnati. “But certain groups of jumping spiders deviate from this pattern.

“They not only possess a unique ability to see reds, yellows and oranges, but the males display those same bright colours on the exterior of their faces and other body parts [that] they use in their elaborate courtship dances.”

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