Spiny Spiders Use Colors to Lure Lunch

And besides that, the spiny spider is a very tricky chap indeed. Although they are found all over the world, they differ in colors and patterns, so the yellow-striped spiders Hauber studied in Australia are very different in appearance from other spiny spiders.

"They come in such variations that the insects can't learn what the spiders look like," he says. "From the same mother you could have different looking progeny coming out, so there isn't a clear phenotype where you could say this is what a spiny spider looks like, so avoid it."

That gives the spiny spider a leg up on most other spiders. Most spiders build their webs near lights, and use the lights to attract prey. It's sort of a passive-aggressive system.

But the spiny spider of northern Australia, and possibly elsewhere, doesn't have to do that.

"It's got it's own attracting device," Hauber says.

It's a jungle out there.

Lee Dye’s column appears weekly on ABCNEWS.com. A former science writer for the Los Angeles Times, he now lives in Juneau, Alaska.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Makeup Artist Uses Chin as Canvas
Laura Jenkinson/Caters News Agency
PHOTO: Left, Texas Governor Rick Perry poses for his official portrait. Right, Perrys mug shot taken on August 19, 2014 after the Governor was indicted on two felony charges for an alleged abuse of power.
Texas State Governors Office | Travis County Sheriffs Office
PHOTO: Robin Williams and Billy Crystal walk the red carpet before a gala on August 4, 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for Starkey Hearing Foundation
PHOTO: Elise Mosca attends ABCs Bachelor In Paradise Premiere Party held at Mixology101 & Planet Dailies, Aug. 4, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Leisure Opport