Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 621–634

Evidence for UV-based sensory exploitation in Australian but not European crab spiders


    • Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie University
  • A. M. Heiling
    • Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie University
  • K. Cheng
    • Centre for the Integrative Study of Animal BehaviourMacquarie University
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10682-008-9260-6

Cite this article as:
Herberstein, M.E., Heiling, A.M. & Cheng, K. Evol Ecol (2009) 23: 621. doi:10.1007/s10682-008-9260-6


Some crab spiders reflect UV-light, thereby creating a deceptive signal that attracts prey to the flowers that they sit on. We conducted a survey of several Australian and European species of crab spiders and found that UV-reflection is common in Australian species but absent from European species. Furthermore, honeybees are attracted to UV-reflecting Australian spiders while they are either indifferent to or repelled by European crab spiders. We do not know if UV-reflection evolved once or several times independently in crab spiders endemic to Australia or whether UV-reflective spiders arrived in Australia more recently.


Deceptive signalSpider colourThomisidaePrey attractionHoneybees

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008