<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

In a study performed by Astrid Heiling et. al in 2005, yellow spiders were overwhelmingly found on yellow plants (93.7%, N=16), while white spiders were found on primarily white plants (69%), but also on yellow plants of the same species (31%, N=71). In order to test this pattern of distribution, the researchers conducted a choice experiment where it was found that spiders actively choose flowers, as opposed to just settling on what is available. They found that spider preference was due to reflectance properties of flowers. So why do yellow spiders overwhelming prefer yellow flowers, and white spiders have less of a preference? The researchers did further analysis of spider and flower coloration and by looking at reflectance and contrast found that while the white spider on white plant combination was visible by bees, the yellow on yellow pairing of the two species yielded a higher contrast. In fact, the yellow spider on a yellow plant combination yielded higher UV contrast than a yellow spider on a white flower! The combination of yellow spiders on yellow flowers and white spiders on either color of flowers are attractive to honeybees and correspond to the combinations that spiders choose most frequently. This shows that spiders are actively seeking to contrast highly with their background on the basis of perceived honeybee attraction (Heiling et. al, 2005).

Table 1. Overview of the color contrasts between white and yellow T. spectabilis and white and yellow C. frutescens , and the visibility of this contrast by honeybees. Modified from Heiling et. al, 2005.

Spider/flower combinations Color contrast
Yellow/yellow Detectable (very high)
Yellow/white Detectable (high)
White/yellow Detectable (very high)
White/white Detectable (high)

Beyond picking the right flower in comparison to their body to create a desired level of contrast, spiders can manipulate other variables, such as their position on a given flower, to attract their hymenopteran prey. In another experiment performed by Heiling et. al, researchers placed spiders on both the ligulate florets and the center of daisies to see how honeybees would respond. Expecting that spiders positioned naturally on the petals would deceive honeybees while those placed atypically in the center of the flowers would repel the prey, researchers found their predictions to be supported. Researchers hypothesized that the honeybees may have been less attractive to daisies with spiders over the center because it would make it more difficult for spiders to access their reward (i.e. nectar). Another hypothesis was that the spider-covered centers had inflorescences that did not visually resemble natural daisies, hence the rejection by honeybees. What was evident, however, is that deception by spiders and attractiveness to honeybees was greatest when spiders were placed on the petals, a behavior that spiders exhibit in nature. In this careful choice, spiders are able to position themselves to influence the behavior of their hymenopteran prey (Heiling et. al, 2006). This adds to a bevy of evidence that confirms that spiders act in a way that maximize their attractiveness to prey.

Questions & Answers

what is a market demand schedule
Blessed Reply
What is demand curve
mohamed Reply
Types of demand curve
demand curve is a showing the aggregate of demand whether falling from right to the left in the table above
demand curve is the graphical representation of various quantities of a commodity bought at various prices
What is the formula for calculating elasticity
Hafsat Reply
what is demand
Anefor Reply
demand is the quantity of commodity that consumers wil be able and wiling to buy at a given price at a given time
what is international trade?
Friday Reply
it is the exchange of goods and services across international borders.
what is taxation
Eunice Reply
the definition of economic by Adam Smith
Geon Reply
Adam Smith define economic as the science of wealth
What is enconomics
what is meant by pisp in economics?
Amara Reply
payment initiation service provider
what is demand
Joy Reply
Demand refers to the consumers' desire to purchase goods at given prices. Demand can mean either demand for a specific good or aggregate demand for the total of all goods in an economy.
What is economc
Joseph Reply
What is economc
What is Economic
Vicky Reply
What's the price index of consumption?
Pun Reply
what population
Hackman Reply
I think it's the sum total of people in a goegraphical area at a given time
it refers to the number of people living in a particular area over a given period of time
decribe law of demand
Lovely Reply
the higher the price , the higher the quantity demanded
what is economic growth
Metuge Reply
what is an economic system
Economic system is the mechanism which deals with the production, distribution and consumption of good and services in a particular society
of course
what is a weight
What is a weight
While the American heart association suggests that meditation might be used in conjunction with more traditional treatments as a way to manage hypertension
Beverly Reply
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now

Source:  OpenStax, Mockingbird tales: readings in animal behavior. OpenStax CNX. Jan 12, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11211/1.5
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Mockingbird tales: readings in animal behavior' conversation and receive update notifications?