In this review we aim to consolidate the study of colour-based prey deception within sensory drive theory. This VU 0361737 has relevance to sensory-based deception regardless of modality (visual, olfactory, auditory, etc.), but the relevant literature is especially well developed in regard to visual signals, and in particular those based on colour (see e.g. Endler, 1992, Endler, 1993a, Endler, 1993b, Endler, 1993b and Endler, 2012). For heuristic reasons, we develop the argument largely in reference to the most popularly studied and best characterized empirical context: colour-based prey lures in orb-web spiders (Table 1). Our review proceeds in three stages. First, we outline the key principles of sensory drive, define a relevant sensory-based model of signal function (sensory traps) and discuss the relevance of these principles to prey lure systems. Second, we draw upon this framework to review the extensive literature on colour-based prey lures (with a focus on signal structure, signalling environments and identifying relevant receivers), and discuss the empirical insights that may be possible through a more explicit consideration of sensory drive theory. Here we focus on two points: (1) the evolution of signal function and (2) the evolution of extreme variation and polymorphism. Finally, we highlight the reciprocal opportunities that colour lure systems offer for testing and extending theory, and conclude by outlining promising directions for future research.