Sexy side of UV-B | Science News


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Sexy side of UV-B

Female spiders like ’em sunburn-hot

11:31am, May 1, 2008

The first evidence of the dreaded ultraviolet-B wavelengths as a male come-on has turned up in a jumping spider from Asia.

Males of the small, iridescent jumping spider species Phintella vittata reflect ultraviolet wavelengths, mostly in the 290 to 320 nanometer range designated as B, says Daiqin Li of the National University of Singapore. UV-B is powerful stuff that increases risks of skin cancer and other ills in humans.

Yet females of this jumping spider prefer males with that UV-B charm, Li and his colleagues report in the May 6 Current Biology. The researchers set females in an arena where they could see two males posing and flirting. When a filter above one male screened ou

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