Using Hyperspectral Imaging to Model the Colorful Courtship Displays of a Paradise Jumping Spider (Genus Habronattus)

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Leigha Brown
Jenny Sung


By Leigha Brown, Biological Sciences - Animal Biology

Advisor: Jenny Sung

Presentation ID: 262

Abstract: Many animals display and view complex color patterns during communication, which can indicate an individual's sexual maturity, species identity, or even fitness conditions and health. For example, some butterflies have ultraviolet (UV) colors that are visible to the visual systems of conspecifics. Habronattus jumping spiders also have a UV-sensitive color visual system, and males of this genus have colorful, species-specific faces that may be used during courtship interactions. Traditional methods of image capture and color quantification often do not expand beyond the visible spectrum of human vision or do not measure colors in their naturally occurring spatial patterning. This poses a challenge for exploring how and why color patterns evolve across animals with diverse visual systems. To address these obstacles while studying the evolution of color patterning, we pioneer novel techniques using snapshot hyperspectral imaging to quantify the facial colorations of 4 co-occuring species of Habronattus jumping spiders. This approach captures spectral information on a biologically-relevant scale while preserving the spatial relationship between colors needed to understand the nature and evolution of color patterns. We characterize the total number of colors used by each species and sex, and we examine the findings in the context of sexual selection and courtship. Our results support the utility of hyperspectral imaging for the study of complex color displays in small animals like jumping spiders and open up new frontiers for the study of color more generally.

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Category: Sensing & Sensory Systems