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Diet-Induced Color Change in the Hawaiian Happy-Face Spider Theridion grallator, (Araneae, Theridiidae)
Rosemary G. Gillespie
The Journal of Arachnology
Vol. 17, No. 2 (Summer, 1989), pp. 171-177
Published by: American Arachnological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3705625
Page Count: 7
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The Hawaiian happy-face spider Theridion grallator Simon is a small spider, endemic to Hawaii, where it is found under leaves in the wet and mesic forests. The abdomen is pale, translucent yellow, but variable amounts of red, black or white pigment may be superimposed on this to generate a host of patterned morphs. The translucence of the abdomen may enhance crypsis against predators searching the underside of leaves; the variability in the superimposed pattern may serve to counteract the development of a search image by the predator. The present study documents plasticity in base coloration, which can change rapidly and markedly following ingestion of certain types of prey. This may be merely a consequence of abdominal translucence. But it is interesting to note that it adds a whole new dimension to the color polymorphism of the species.
The Journal of Arachnology © 1989 American Arachnological Society