Singapore arachnologist Daiqin Li, from the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore, led a team of Singapore and Chinese researchers in studying a species of jumping spider.
Specifically, the Li team was investigating a similar species of spider because it uses UV-A light as part of its mating ritual.
(An arachnologist is a person that studies arachnids; that is, spiders and related species such as scorpions and harvestmen.}
They decided to investigate further, wondering if such spiders might be able to also detect UV-B light. They decided to study different species of the jumping spider.
They stated in their paper, “Although there are numerous examples of animals having photoreceptors sensitive to UVA (315–400 nm) and relying on UVA-based mate-choice cues, here we provide the first evidence of an animal using UVB (280–315 nm) for intraspecific communication.”
The abstract to their paper stated, “An earlier study showed that Phintella vittata, a jumping spider (Salticidae) from China, reflects UVB.”
The Phintella vittata spider has patches on its abdomen, which is used to reflect UV-B light during mating rituals.
Ultraviolet (UV) light is a type of electromagnetic (EM) radiation with a range of wavelengths from about (1) 400 to 300 nanometers (where one nanometer is equal to one-billionth of a meter)—what is UV-A light; (2) 300 to 200 nanometers—what is UV-B light; (3) 200 to 100 nanometers—what is UV-C light; (4) 100 to 10 nanometers—what is VUV (or vacuum ultraviolet light) or extreme UV.
UV light has a wavelength that is shorter than visible light but longer than x-rays. UV light from the Sun can be dangerous to humans because it can cause skin cancer and can be dangerous to the eyes of humans and other animals.
This discovery is a first for scientists. Read more on the next page.
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