With their perfect sight and quick movements, jumping spider often cause frightful feelings in people who think that the tiny eight-legged arthropods are ready to attack them. Are they really able to watch us? Do they cause any harm?
General Characteristics of a Jumping Spider Family
Jumping spiders (Salticidae) have excellent features for perfect hunters despite their size. They are hardly larger than 1 cm, mostly 3-5 mm in length. The champions in dimensions among arachnid species are regal jumping spiders, which are 6-18 mm in males and 7-22 mm in females. They have strong chelicerae and are able to cause a painful bite to humans.
Jumping spiders hunt in the daytime without catching preys into the web unlike a majority of their eight-legged siblings. The strategy includes stalking, crawling closer, fixing a silky thread at the starting place and acute jump directly onto the victim. Then the predator grabs its lunch and injects the venom. After the prey stops struggling, the spider enjoys its food.
Ability to jump allows these creatures to lap at the distance of 30-50 times longer their body size. Such an impressive and quick jump results from the unique hydraulic principle of filling rear legs with blood rightly before the start. The thread prevents the spider from falling too far from the place in case of a missing attempt.
Very important – Jumping spiders like other arthropods use their venom to kill the prey. Most species are weak to pierce human skin. Those who can do it possess too little venom to cause any significant consequences to our health. The exceptions are of course people with an allergic reaction to spiders’ bites. Only, in this case, they need urgent medical help.
Interesting Facts About Jumping Spider
- There are about 5000 species of jumping spiders in the world. They inhabit mostly tropical regions but are also widespread in warm countries.
- They are rather curious. So zebra spiders can notice you passing nearby and follow the object with their huge eyes. In case you approach it from the back, the arthropod will feel you by means of rear eyes and immediately turn to look at you more attentively.
- All spiders from the Salticidae family have sexual dimorphism. Males are smaller but own bright appearance, including iridescent chelicerae and even colorful appearance. Peacock male spiders are considered the most beautiful. They use this tool to conquer the attention of a female, which is usually a bit larger and has a pale camouflage. During mating males do their best to impress females. Each spider has its individual tactics. But usually, the ritual consists of raising and waving front legs, wagging the rear part, vibrating the body and moving in a zig-zag direction. If the “lady” is impressed, she will allow the male to climb over and inseminate her. Sometimes females are so hungry that tend to eat a male rather than to mate. Nevertheless, a stubborn but cautious male has more chances to survive if he dances.
4. Red-backed jumping spiders are often mistaken for black widow spiders. But looking closer, it is easy to spot jumpers with their hairy body, compact legs and enormously big eyes. What is more, the red pattern is rather big and occupies the whole abdomen. Meanwhile, black widows can boast their sand watch pattern on a glossy black body.