Evolution and ecology of spider coloration.

  title={Evolution and ecology of spider coloration.},
  author={Geoff S. Oxford and Rosemary G. Gillespie},
  journal={Annual review of entomology},
Genetic color variation provides a tangible link between the external phenotype of an organism and its underlying genetic determination and thus furnishes a tractable system with which to explore fundamental evolutionary phenomena. Here we examine the basis of color variation in spiders and its evolutionary and ecological implications. Reversible color changes, resulting from several mechanisms, are surprisingly widespread in the group and must be distinguished from true genetic variation for… 

Portraits of Evolution: Studies of Coloration in Hawaiian Spiders

This work examines how color variation in two spider systems in the Hawaiian Islands can be used to understand evolutionary phenomena at both population and species levels and considers the adaptive radiation of Hawaiian Tetragnatha spiders.

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This thesis investigates the maintenance of a female-limited colour polymorphism in the crab spider Synema globosum and the role that negative frequency-dependent selection could have in this process, and establishes the basis for future studies to investigate the exact ecological explanation for the observed phenotypic variation in S. Globosum.


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Stabilizing selection maintains exuberant colour polymorphism in the spider Theridion californicum (Araneae, Theridiidae)

It is demonstrated that the colour polymorphism appears to be maintained by balancing selection, suggesting that selective agents can act in a similar manner across disparate taxa in globally disjunct locales resulting in parallel evolution of exuberant polymorphism.

Parallel phenotypic evolution in a wolf spider radiation on Galápagos

The results show that recurrent environmental gradients have led to the parallel evolution of almost identical phenotypes, which not only proves that natural selection has driven morphological divergence, but also suggests that a similar genetic or developmental basis most likely underlies this divergence.

The Evolution of Color Polymorphism: Crypticity, Searching Images, and Apostatic Selection

This review clarifies the argument for a perceptual selective mechanism and examines the relevant experimental evidence for frequency-dependent, apostatic selection in cryptic prey species.

Guanine as a colorant in spiders : development , genetics , phylogenetics and ecology

  • Biology
  • 2005
Spiders have evolved two devices to circumvent the problem when bright colours are advantageous, which involves effectively increasing the thickness, but not the stiffness, of the cuticle by the use of hairs or flattened setae which may contain pigments or appear white or silvery as a result of structural coloration.

Shifting habitats, morphology, and selective pressures: Developmental polyphenism in an adaptive radiation of Hawaiian spiders

The results provide strong evidence that variability in color in Tetragnatha kauaiensis and T. polychromata is associated with development within individuals (polyphenism), and illustrate how developmental polyphenism might provide an avenue for the repeated evolution of ecomorphs during adaptive radiation.

Comparative Transcriptomics of Maturity-Associated Color Change in Hawaiian Spiders.

A comparative analysis of transcriptome data from the Maroon morph of T. kauaiensis and T. perreirai provides critical groundwork that will allow us to advance the understanding of the genomic elements associated with adaptive radiations.

Genetic basis of a color pattern polymorphism in the Coqui Frog Eleutherodactylus coqui.

The results of this experiment suggest the genetic basis of stripe patterns in this well-studied species and provide a model for studying the evolution and maintenance of this phenotypic polymorphism.



Genetics of Color Expression in the Spider Enoplognatha ovata (Araneae: Theridiidae) from Coastal Maine

The pattern of inheritance and number of color phenotypes in the Maine populations were consistent with Oxford's (1983) model, although Hippa and Oksala's (1979) model could not be dismissed, and genetic differences between Maine and European E. ovata populations are suggested.

Maintaining a happy face: stable colour polymorphism in the spider Theiridion grallator (Araneae, Theridiidae)

Estimates of spider migration suggest that gene flow is sufficient to account for the similarity in frequency within and between areas on Maui, but it is probably not sufficient to explain the similarity among islands.

Melanism in the spider Pityohyphantes phrygianus (C. L Koch): the genetics and the occurrence of different colour phenotypes in a natural population

Analyses of the genetic basis of colour variation in P. phrygianus showed that a polygenic system is probably involved, and a small-scale laboratory experiment indicated that the melanics may have an activity—and hence a foraging—advantage over non-melanics at low temperatures.

Genetics and distribution of black spotting in Enoplognatha ovata (Araneae: Theridiidae), and the role of intermittent drift in population differentiation

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Breeding experiments have been performed to elucidate the genetics of colour and pattern in Enoplognatha ovata, finding patterns appearing early in development are found in both sexes whereas those appearing only at maturity are sex limited to females.


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Myrmecomorphy: morphological and behavioral mimicry of ants

The influence of ants on ecological communities is well documented by their quantitative effect on populations of other organisms (66, 176) and through the variety of relationships in which they are

Geographical distribution of phenotypes regulating pigmentation in the spider Enoplognatha ovata (Clerck) (Araneae: Theridiidae)

The time when red pigment is deposited in the ovata and redimita morphs of Enoplognatha ovata is determined by a closely linked regulatory locus and at the structural locus upon which it acts are not correlated.

Genetics of a colour polymorphism in Theridion grallator (Araneae: Theridiidae), the Hawaiian happy-face spider, from Greater Maui

Theridion grallator, the Hawaiian happy-face spider, a species endemic to four islands in the Hawaiian archipelago, exhibits an exuberant colour and pattern polymorphism involving both the carapace and opisthosoma, which suggests that the polymorphism in this species has evolved for its visual effects.

Invertebrate Behavior. (Book Reviews: Comparative Studies of the Courtship and Mating Behavior of Tropical Araneid Spiders)

The courtship and mating behavior of 53 species of orb-weaving spiders is described and illustrated and the complexities of function, causation and évolution in the light of the results are examined.