Nalini gets paper, NUS graduate scholarship application accepted

Nalini’s paper (mentioned previously on this blog) has now been published in BMC Evolutionary Biology. The title of the paper is: “Bending for love: losses and gains of sexual dimorphisms are strictly correlated with changes in the mounting position of sepsid flies (Sepsidae: Diptera).”

Here are some links where you can admire the Kama Sutra of sepsid mounting behavior. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t try this at home unless you have six limbs and no internal skeleton.

All her videos (comprising of endless hours at the microscope not giving these flies any privacy whatsoever) can be found at her channel on youtube: Watch them for minutes of amusement with males pouncing, dancing, contorting and generally working very hard to gain the favour of their female partners.

Another piece of happy news: Nalini’s application for the NUS-Overseas graduate scholarship has been accepted! Congratulations Nalini for taking the first step towards a glorious future messing with shaping young minds here at NUS!


Jumping spiders can see UVB! – Paper in Current Biology

Photo by Li Daiqin.

Li, J., Z. Zhang, F. Liu, Q. Liu, W. Gan, J. Chen, Matthew L.M. Lim, Daiqin Li, 2008. UVB-Based Mate-Choice Cues Used by Females of the Jumping Spider Phintella vittata. Current Biology, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2008.04.020

‘While several insects, crustaceans, birds, fish and mammals can see ultraviolet A light, no animal was thought to be able to perceive UVB because their eyes do not appear capable of detecting this wavelength. Curious about patches on the abdomens of male jumping spiders (Phintella vittata) in China that reflect Ultraviolet B, Li Daiqin, Matthew Lim and colleagues in China put this notion to the test. Most of the females that had responded to male courtship displays in normal light ignored males under a UVB-blocking filter.’

– Science NOW Daily News

The story has been written up Ed Yong in ScienceBlogs [“Sexy jumping spiders court females with ultraviolet patches,” by Ed Yong. Not Exactly Rocket Science, 01 May 2008]:

[Update] Locally it has been covered by biology blogger Lim Leng Hiong at “Spiders With Sexy Ultraviolet Bling” (02 May 2008).

News reports:

It is also featured in The Straits Times, Singapore [“Spiders court the girls with UV rays,” by Lim Heng Liang. The Straits Times, 02 May 2008.]:

Thanks to Tom Palmerley for the BBC link.