Colour and movement

210217 jumpingspider
A male North American Habronattus jumping spider is one of the rare groups that can see colour.
Credit: 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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