Jumping Spiders (family Salticidae)*

 

This creature, which resembles a friendly member of the Muppets, is actually an agressive hunter.

This creature, which resembles a friendly member of the Muppets, is actually an agressive hunter.

There are as many as 5,000 species in family Salticidae, more than in any other family of spiders .  All the more fodder for arachnphobic catatonia.  In contrast to their numbers, of course,  is the size of individual members of family Salticidae, which average less than 2cm in length (though the females are typically larger than the males. Females are usually scarier anyway, if you ask for the author’s humble opinion).

Jumping spiders are agre3ssive little buggers: as  active rather than passive hunters, these  hunters jump by means of specialized internal hydraulics,  like little Gangstamobiles,  causing  their legs to extend forcefully and rapidly, propelling them into the air and across long distances. Characteristically, a jumping spider creeps towards its prey, crouches, inches its forelegs towards its target, and… (GULP!)  pounces,  covering distances as great as  30cm (one foot, and 15x its own body length). See figure B, below.

Were these facts not enough to secure the jumping spider’s place in B.V.’s  list of the most awe-inspiring and nightmare-inducing creatures, family Salticidae is also cannabalistic, often preying on their web-making spidey bretheren. Watch out, spiderman.
The jumping spider in action. The writer of B.V. will have arachnophobic dreams for weeks on the strength of this image.

figure B: The jumping spider in action. The writer will have arachnaphobic dreams for weeks on the strength of this image.

* NB: this installment of B.V. is dedicated to Lowly_Adjunct (aka. K.E.); oh you who perversly loves spiders, enjoy– this one’s for you.

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2 Comments

Filed under backyard fauna, Phobia-inducing, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Jumping Spiders (family Salticidae)*

  1. lowly_adjunct

    YAY! I ❤ spiders! And this post!

    …and am now dreaming of Spiderman’s new nemesis, who makes Venom look like a creampuff.

  2. Sj

    and that’s no easy feat!

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