April 4, 2006
I mistyped something in my browser and came across tetrachromat.com. Sort of a long way around the block for a little joke, but I approve. 'What's a tetrachromat?' you ask. I first read about this phenomenon here: Looking for Madame Tetrachromat. This wikipedia entry provides some more info.
My question, 'Why do jumping spiders need to have super color vision? What advantage does it give them out there?' Perhaps knowing the subtle difference between similarly colored leaves gave them some evolutionary advantage over another type of less visually acute spider now long extinct... When I was a kid I prided myself in being able to name all the various colors in the big box of crayons. Without looking at the labels I could tell the difference between violet blue and blue violet, brick red from maroon, spring green from sea green. I remember thinking there were never enough reds but quite enough blues. How many more blues could a jumping spider perceive? I feel jealous.