Behavioural evidence of UV sensitivity in jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae)
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Jumping spiders are known to possess ultraviolet (UV) receptors in the retinas of their large-principal eyes. The existence of UV visual cells, however, does not prove that jumping spiders can see into the UV part of spectrum (300–400 nm) or whether such an ability plays any role in salticid intra-specific interactions. In the study reported herein, we performed behavioural experiments to test whether a UV−reflecting jumping spider, Cosmophasis umbratica, is sensitive to UV wavelengths and whether UV cues are important in intra-specific communication. The absence of UV cues not only affected intra-specific behaviour by significantly reducing the frequency of agonistic displays, but also elicited unprecedented courtship displays in males towards their own mirror images and conspecific opponents. Furthermore, C. umbratica males were able to respond rapidly to changes in UV cues of conspecific mirror images by switching between agonistic and courtship displays. These findings clearly demonstrate that C. umbratica males are capable of seeing UV wavelengths and that UV cues are necessary and sufficient for this species to enable the agonistic displays. Hence, UV light may have an important role to play in intra-specific communication in jumping spiders.