hero image
Lisa Taylor - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Lisa Taylor

Assistant Research Scientist | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Lisa Taylor researches biodiversity and the extravagant and brilliantly colored displays that arthropods use to communicate.


Lisa Taylor researches the sexual selection, sensory exploitation and predator psychology of spiders, wasps and other colorful but understudied arthropod groups. Her lab, the Taylor Lab, works to understand the selection pressures that drive the evolution and maintenance of those colorful displays. She is an assistant research scientist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology UF/IFAS.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Animal Behavior

Animal Cognition

Animal Coloration

Animal Communication

Spider Biology

Media Appearances (6)

Inside the mind of a spider

UF IFAS Blogs  online


For a creature that – legs and all – might be no larger than a pencil eraser, spiders continue to surprise researchers with their cognitive abilities.

view more

Jumping spiders’ remarkable senses capture a world beyond our perception

Science News  online


Imagine that the world is shades of gray and a little blurry, almost as if your lousy peripheral vision has taken over. This fuzzy field of view extends so far that you can make out dim shapes and motion behind you as well; no need to turn your head.

view more

How Jumping Spiders Avoid Becoming A Tasty Snack

Science Friday  online


Jumping spiders are crafty hunters, but sometimes they need their own disguise to avoid their own predators. Biologist Alexis Dodson studies Synemosyna formica, a species of jumping spider that avoids detection by mimicking ants.

view more

Eyeliner On Spiders: It's For Science

WUFT NPR  online


We learned this week that scientists in Florida are putting eyeliner on spiders. Why? Well, to understand, you need to know male jumping spiders are pretty flamboyant during mating rituals. They vibrate and dance. And they're pretty colorful too.

view more

Inside the Lab Where Spiders Put on Face Paint and Fake Eyelashes (and Termites Wear Capes)

Wired  online


In a lab at the University of Florida, researchers are giving male jumping spiders a makeover. After knocking them unconscious for a few minutes with carbon dioxide, the scientists paint the bright-red faces of Habronattus pyrrithrix black with liquid eyeliner, or stick false eyelashes to the heads of Maevia inclemens with Elmer’s glue.

view more

What does it take to understand spiders? False eyelashes, capes and face paint

UF News  online


In an arena that looks like something straight out of Pokémon, two spiders square off. The male darts to the left, scuttles forward, then jumps backward, catching the interest of a female spider in the arena.

view more


Articles (4)

Extreme natural size variation in both sexes of a sexually cannibalistic mantidfly

Royal Society Open Publishing

Laurel B. Lietzenmayer, et. al


In sexually cannibalistic animals, the relative sizes of potential mates often predict the outcome of aggressive encounters. Mantidflies are spider egg predators as larvae and generalist predators as adults. Unlike most cannibalistic species, there is considerable individual variation in body size in both sexes. Using preserved collections of Dicromantispa sayi, we focused on three body size metrics that we found to be positively correlated and accurately measured across researchers.

view more

Blood-red colour as a prey choice cue for mosquito specialist predators Author links open overlay panel

Animal Behaviour

Lisa A.Taylor, et. al


Specialist predators are innately and distinctively proficient at targeting specific prey types. This is enabled by behavioural, perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that can only be understood using carefully designed experiments. Evarcha culicivora is an East African jumping spider that feeds on vertebrate blood acquired indirectly by actively targeting blood-carrying female mosquitoes as preferred prey. Here we asked whether these spiders use the colour red to identify this prey.

view more

Alternative responses by two species of jumping spiders to unpalatability and toxicity in prey

The Journal of Arachnology

Michael E. Vickers, et. al


A key challenge for generalist predators is avoiding toxins in prey. Species-specific strategies range from total avoidance of distasteful (and potentially toxic) prey to the use of physiological mechanisms to metabolize toxins after consumption. We compare two species of jumping spiders, Habronattus trimaculatus Bryant, 1945 and Phidippus regius CL Koch, 1846.

view more

Lack of neophobic responses to color in a jumping spider that uses color cues when foraging (Habronattus pyrrithrix)

Plos One

Michael E. Vickers, et. al


Chemically defended prey often advertise their toxins with bright and conspicuous colors. To understand why such colors are effective at reducing predation, we need to understand the psychology of key predators. In bird predators, there is evidence that individuals avoid novelty—including prey of novel colors (with which they have had no prior experience). Moreover, the effect of novelty is sometimes strongest for colors that are typically associated with aposematic prey (e.g., red, orange, yellow).

view more





Headshot loading image