If you hate spiders , you might want to pay closer attention to the clothes you wear.
That’s because some spiders pay more attention to colour than we previously thought, according to new research from the University of Cincinnati.
Researchers looked at how wolf spiders reacted to a video of courting spiders where the background colour, contrast and intensity was manipulated.
They found that female spiders were more likely to respond to videos featuring males that contrasted sharply with their background.
They also responded more strongly to colour backgrounds, rather than monochrome.
"The assumption was wolf spiders don’t pay attention to colour," said UC biology professor George Uetz.
"But we found that isn’t really true," Uetz said. "We need to look more closely at the neurobiology of their eyes. We need to understand what their retinas do."
Most humans have trichromatic vision, with retinal cells called cones that can see red, green and blue.
In contrast, Wolf spiders have dichromatic vision, which means they can only see green and ultraviolet – but it appears that they favour green.
"That means they’re basically colorblind," Uetz said. "But they’re sensitive to light in the green wavelength".
The spider courting videos were also played for male spiders called ‘eavesdroppers’, named for their habit of lurking in the background while learning how to mimic other male spiders’ courting displays.
"What we found is that for female spiders, intensity matters more than colour. But for male eavesdroppers, colour matters, too. That is the odd finding. We didn’t expect that at all," Uetz said.
The researchers were also surprised to find that spider eyesight appears to adapt to the changing seasons.
"That makes a lot of sense because when you go out in the early season when the spiders first come out, there are no leaves on the trees so there is broad spectrum light," said Uetz.
"But as the seasons change, leaves come out and everything turns green. Spiders have to be able to see the contrast against a lot of color backgrounds."
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