Molecular evolution of visual pigments as a function of foraging ecology across three families of true spiders

We seek to understand how biochemical properties of visual pigments are related to foraging activities of different species of spiders. Visual pigments show interesting patterns of evolution across vertebrates and insects, but spiders are relatively poorly studied. At the Koffler reserve, we will collect common spiders from three different groups that vary in the timing of their activity (day/night), and foraging ecology (active hunters or sit-and-wait predators). Spiders will be returned to our laboratory at the University of Toronto Scarborough where we will use molecular and biochemical techniques to analyze whether variation in visual pigments is related to foraging ecology.

Principal Investigators: Maydianne Andrade, Nathan Lovejoy

Researcher: Charmaine Condy

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