Like the glitter and glare of Las Vegas beckoning tourists to the gambling tables, the orb-weaving spiny spider flashes its colorful back to lure unsuspecting quarry into its web. The discovery of this lethal use of color runs contrary to the long-held belief that in the animal kingdom color is used generally to attract mates rather than to entice prey, says a Cornell University animal behavior researcher
"Attraction is all casinos are about. They lure you; they want to get you there. They lure people with bright lights, cheap plane tickets, inexpensive hotel rooms, great shows and great meals," says Mark E. Hauber of Cornells Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. "The spiny spiders work the same way."
Haubers discovery will be described in a forthcoming issue of the Royal Entomological Society journal Ecological Entomology (September 2002), in an article, "Colouration attracts prey to a stationary predator."
Blaine P. Friedlander Jr. | EurekAlert
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