Visual animal communication, whether to the same or to other species, is largely conducted through dynamic and colourful signals. For a signal to be effective, the signaller must capture and retain the attention of the receiver. Signal efficacy is also dependent on the sensory limitations of the receiver. However, most signalling studies consider movement and colour separately, resulting in a partial understanding of the signal in question. We explored the structure and function of predator–prey signalling in the jumping spider–tephritid fly system, where the prey performs a wing waving display that deters an attack from the predator. Using a custom-built spider retinal tracker combined with visual modelling, as well as behavioural assays, we studied the effect of fly wing movement and colour on the jumping spider's visual system. We show that jumping spiders track their prey less effectively during wing display and this can be attributed to a series of fluctuations in chromatic and achromatic contrasts arising from the wing movements. These results suggest that displaying flies deter spider attacks by manipulating the movement biases of the spider's visual system. Our results emphasise the importance of receiver attention on the evolution of interspecific communication.

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