Oh, what a tangled web we weave: Jumping spiders

October 27, 2011

Warning: The following may make you jump out of your skin.

Eyes like headlights help them focus on their prey as they prepare to leap up to 40 times their body length to capture their victim. Jumping spiders are named for their highly coordinated jumping ability which they also use to travel from plant to plant. Not only are they quick and volatile, but their vision is remarkable as well. Jumping spiders can see up to 320 degrees with their four pairs of eyes. The two large eyes in front can focus on objects and see in color – there is no hiding from these predators. Most are harmless but their bite can be painful.

These spiders are generally 5 to 10 mm long but some species can grow up to 23 mm. The females are usually larger. Most species are brightly colored or patterned and have stout bodies with short legs. But these short legs don’t keep them down. In fact, the males often dance for the females before mating – at least these females allow their counterpart to survive this ritual, unlike the black widow.

So if you find one of these critters in your home and you grab a tissue to remove it – gently of course – be prepared for the inevitable. Just as soon as you have built up your confidence to handle the situation and are close enough to scoop the spider, it will jump away! Unfortunately, you probably won’t know where “away” is and will frantically swat the air and your clothing until you are assured that the agile arachnid is not on your body. If you are rather squeamish, perhaps you should leave it as part of the festive décor. After all, it is Halloween.  

Share with us your favorite spider story!


One Response to “Oh, what a tangled web we weave: Jumping spiders”

  1. […] Oh, what a tangled web we weave: Jumping spiders (fldpi.wordpress.com) […]

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