Sexually selected UV signals in the tropical ornate jumping spider, Cosmophasis umbratica may incur costs from predation

Matthew W. Bulbert*, James C. O'Hanlon, Shane Zappettini, Shichang Zhang, Daiqin Li

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    11 Downloads (Pure)


    Sexually selected ornaments and signals are costly to maintain if they are maladaptive in nonreproductive contexts. The jumping spider Cosmophasis umbratica exhibits distinct sexual dichromatism with males displaying elaborate UV body markings that signal male quality. Female C. umbratica respond favorably to UV-reflecting males and ignore males that have their UV masked. However, Portia labiata, a UV-sensitive spider-eating specialist and a natural predator of C. umbratica, is known to use UV reflectance as a cue when hunting prey. We investigated the cost of these UV signals in C. umbratica in terms of their predation risk. Under experimental conditions, three choice scenarios were presented to P. labiata individuals. Choices by P. labiata were made between male C. umbratica with and without the UV signal; a UV-reflecting male and non-UV-reflecting female; and a UV-masked male and female. The presence and absence of UV signals was manipulated using an optical filter. Portia labiata exhibited a strong bias toward UV+ individuals. These results suggest the sexually selected trait of UV reflectance increases the visibility of males to UV-sensitive predators. The extent of this male-specific UV signal then is potentially moderated by predation pressure. Interestingly though, P. labiata still preferred males to females irrespective of whether UV reflectance was present or not. This suggests P. labiata can switch cues when conditions to detect UV reflectance are not optimal. The predatory cost of sexually selected male UV reflectance was investigated in the tropical ornate jumping spider. We found the jumping spider Portia labiata strongly preferred UV-reflecting males. The predator however did not depend solely on the UV-cues but also utilised other male specific cues.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)914-920
    Number of pages7
    JournalEcology and Evolution
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Eavesdropping
    • Portia
    • predation
    • trade-offs
    • UV


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