You are here

Elevator speech

Submitted by jmalloldiaz on Fri, 12/07/2018 - 09:18

Crab spiders are ambush hunters that prey on pollinator insects by lurking in the flowers they visit. Due to the nature of their hunting strategies, we hypothesized that crab spiders prefer to hide in flowers that more closely resemble their body coloration. In order to test this, we set up an arena divided into two colors and recorded the location of the spider prior to being displaced and after being moved to the center of the stage.
The data for the cyan versus green trials suggests that Mecaphesa celer shows an initial preference towards cyan, but when placed in the center of the arena it will move towards the green background. Meanwhile, in the white and yellow trials Mecaphesa initially shows no particular preference between the backgrounds, but when placed in the center of the arena it will move towards the white side. The results agree with our hypothesis that crab spiders prefer backgrounds that match their current body coloration, although further trials with a larger sample size and a refined protocol should be performed in the future to confirm these findings. Despite being a pilot study, this line of investigation could shed light on multiple aspects of the ecology and evolution of cryptic coloration in predator-prey relationships.