Journal of Ethology

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 301–307 | Cite as

Reliance on trial and error signal derivation by Portia africana, an araneophagic jumping spider from East Africa



All species from the jumping spider (Salticidae) genus Portia appear to be predators that specialize at preying on other spiders by invading webs and, through aggressive mimicry, gaining dynamic fine control over the resident spider’s behavior. From previous research, there is evidence that P. fimbriata, P. labiata and P. schultzi derive signals by trial and error. Here, we demonstrate that P. africana is another species that uses a trial and error, or generate and test, algorithm when deriving the aggressive-mimicry signals that will be appropriate in different predator–prey encounters. We discuss the implications of these new findings and the findings from previous work in order to understand the selection factors that drive the evolution of flexibility in aggressive-mimicry strategies.


Salticidae Aggressive mimicry Predation Cognition Sensory exploitation 


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)Thomas Odhiambo CampusMbita PointKenya

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