A predator’s perspective of defensive wing displays

@ATREE auditorium at 3.45 pm on 28th July 2017

Many species of tephritid flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) perform a wing waving display ('supination') to deter attacks from jumping spiders. This display, along with the dark bands on the wings, has been thought to deter spiders through a form of mimicry termed 'predator mimicry'. In a series of studies with jumping spiders and the Mexican fruit fly, we explored this interaction from a visual ecology perspective. Using an custom built eye-tracker that traces the movement of the retina in the principal eyes, we played videos of displaying flies and monitored the response. We describe the patterns of retinal movement of jumping spiders in three treatments: during fly display, fly walking and a still fly. This study has implications for the study on signalling and visual ecology of jumping spiders.

About the speaker
Dinesh Rao has been working on the behavioural ecology of spiders for close to 15 years now. He did his masters in Ecology in Pondicherry University, a Phd in Biological sciences in Macquarie University, Australia and is now working as a researcher in the Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico. He has worked as a research assistant in ATREE for 2 years, focusing on the effect of anthropogenic threats and lantana invasion on the diversity of birds and butterflies in BRT and MM HIlls. His research interests are in predator-prey interactions, canopy biodiversity and visual ecology of spiders.