For the love of spiders II

I might be biased, but I think jumping spiders are the cutest. There is one living in my office plants this winter, and it makes me smile every time I see it. IMG_4487(2)

Jumping spiders are in the family Salticidae. There are over 5,000 known species throughout the world. You can identify a jumping spider most easily by their eyes. They have 8 eyes, but two of them are prominent. I don’t have a good picture of the eyes up close, but Wikipedia does. They are covered in short hairs but do not have long spines on their legs like some similar looking spiders.

Jumping spiders use their powerful hind legs and excellent vision to hunt prey. Like crab spiders, they are useful to have in the garden because they eat small pest insects, like aphids.

IMG_4390

Many jumping spiders have elaborate mating rituals.  The male dances for the female. If  she is interested in him, she assumes a crouching position. Then he approaches her. Although the spiders are not making sounds that are audible to humans, they are communicating with their dance partner through vibrating the substrate. If the females decides she doesn’t like the male after all, she will try to eat him. The Elias lab at UC Berkeley has done some really interesting work studying their mating behaviors.They have machine that captures in sounds the vibrations the spiders are making. Here is a video of it.

There are some great videos on YouTube showing jumping spider mating dances. I particularly like this interpretive one of a peacock spider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lsRilcqkO8. Here is a more scientific one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GgAbyYDFeg.

Anyone ready to go dancing?

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About keviclaire

I recently graduated from the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. My research interests are focused on biological control and how to increase it's use in agriculture and home gardens. I am also an avid gardener and insect photographer. I'm using this blog as a place to share those interests!

One response to “For the love of spiders II”

  1. alanamace says :

    I think you need to name the one in your office! I also love jumping spiders. I was surprised last year by a really big one in the garden. I had no idea that they could get that big and still jump!

    Like

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