Spiders may have historically been believed to be colour blind, but according to new research, one particular bright shade catches their eye.
A new study conducted by the University of Cincinnati has found that wolf spiders are attracted to the colour green, so if you’ve got a phobia of the creepy crawlies, you might want to steer clear of this summer’s green midi dress trend…
The results found that after scientists at the university investigated how wolf spiders reacted to videos of courting spiders when the background colour, contrast and intensity was manipulated. It turned out that female spiders responded to videos of males that contrasted sharply from their background, while reacting more strongly to the coloured versions.
‘The assumption was wolf spiders don’t pay attention to colour. But we found that isn’t really true,’ biologist Professor George Uetz told Sky News. ‘We need to look more closely at the neurobiology of their eyes. We need to understand what their retinas do.’
Professor Uetz and his team of researchers came across the finding following a longer study into wolf spiders and how their eight eyes function differently to human eyes. Unlike humans, who have trichromatic vision – a light-detecting cone cells in our retinas that can see in red, green, and blue – wolf spiders have dichromatic vision allowing them only to see the colours green and ultraviolet, with green being their favourite.
‘[Dichromatic vision] means they’re basically colourblind. But they’re sensitive to light in the green wavelength,’ Uetz explained. ‘What we found is that for female spiders, intensity matters more than colour. But for eavesdroppers (male spiders), colour matters, too. That is the odd finding. We didn’t expect that at all.
‘That makes a lot of sense because when you go out in the early season when the spiders first come out, there are no leaves on the trees so there is broad spectrum light.’
The full study was presented to the American Arachnological Society in June 2018.