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Spectral reflectance and communication in the wolf spider, Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz): simultaneous crypsis and background contrast in visual signals

Spectral reflectance and communication in the wolf spider, Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz): simultaneous crypsis and background contrast in visual signals,

Spectral reflectance and communication in the wolf spider, Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz): simultaneous crypsis and background contrast in visual signals   (Citations: 1)
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Animal color patterns often reflect a compromise between natural selection for crypsis or inconspicuousness to predators and sexual selection for conspicuousness to potential mates. In leaf litter-dwelling wolf spider species like Schizocosa ocreata, body coloration often closely matches the background coloration of a generally brown environment. However, body parts used in communication should exhibit high contrast against background coloration. We used spectral analysis to examine male and female S. ocreata for matching and contrasting coloration against leaf litter. Values were plotted in multivariate color space, based on reflectivity in different frequency ranges. When viewed from above, colors of both males and females overlap with values for dead brown leaf litter and soil, suggesting cryptic coloration when viewed by potential predators. However, when viewed from a lateral perspective, both males and females show color values that are polar opposites of litter backgrounds, suggesting higher contrast when viewed by other spiders. Moreover, male secondary characters used in visual signaling by S. ocreata (tibia brushes) show the highest level of background contrast. These findings suggest that S. ocreata wolf spiders have color patterns that provide both crypsis and background contrast at the same time, depending on receiver viewing perspective.
Journal: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology - BEHAV ECOL SOCIOBIOL , vol. 65, no. 6, pp. 1237-1247, 2011
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    • ...Recent studies of male S. ocreata have shown that a lateral view is likely more conspicuous to potential mates and that certain body parts (e.g., the tufts of dark bristles on forelegs of males) have greater chromatic and brightness contrast with environmental backgrounds than other body parts (Clark et al. 2010)...
    • ... photos of leaf litter taken at ground level (three in direct sunlight and three in shade) as backgrounds for pre-existing video exemplars of courting males (Fig. 1a, b). We adjusted the digital backgrounds in two ways: (1) we scaled the digital photos to appear life size on the iPod® screen and (2) we adjusted the irradiance and light intensity levels of the images to match natural lighting conditions (based on field measurements; Clark ...
    • ...The environment of the forest floor exhibits considerable variation in leaf litter/vegetation composition and complexity, as well as temporal and spatial differences in light intensity and spectrum (Endler 1993; Scheffer et al. 1996; Clark et al. 2010)...

    George W. Uetzet al. Effect of visual background complexity and light level on the detectio...

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