5 Things You Need to Know About Jumping Spiders
Jumping Spiders – The Largest Family of Spiders
Salticidae or Jumping Spiders
Common but less noticed than their orb weaving cousins, salticids or more commonly known as jumping spiders are in fact, the largest family of the spiders. These spiders are small agile and active hunters they feed on variety of arthropods they can overcome. Like all spiders they are considered venomous.
Venom is delivered through a pair of fangs into the body of their prey, rendering the prey defenseless and allowing the spiders to overcome prey much larger than themselves. They pose no threats to human since their fangs are too small to penetrate human skin and their venom is too minute in volume and not very potent to human.
Jumping spiders have extremely well developed eyesight that allows them to judge distance accurately. They have a total of 8 eyes located around their head, with two larger front eyes being the main anterior median eyes. Jumping spiders are one of the few spiders that actively react to sight stimuli.
Differ from common perception, jumping spiders do not make cobwebs but instead, hunt by roaming around and pounce on any suitable prey they come across. Some species has also adopted a different lifestyle by looking like its prey, such as the ant mimic jumping spider. They do however; retain their ability to spin silk for various uses. One of the more apparent uses is the use of silk as it safety line where that can still hang on to their line if they missed their jump.
3. Cannibalistic Behavior
For many of the boys, jumping spiders are part of our childhood where we used to capture the male spiders from “pandan” leaves and place them in an arena fight to the death (Please don’t do that now). Like most spiders, jumping spiders are solitary animal and do not tolerate each other very well. Larger individuals will readily cannibalize their smaller counterparts.
They usually avoid each other and only come together to mate, in which the smaller male will cautiously approach the female with a combination of visual and vibrational signals to state the male intention. This process has gone one step further in the case of peacock spiders in Australia in which they perform extravagant dance to seek female attention.
Mating is risky for the male as the female might try to cannibalize him. After mating, female create a silken sac on a secured place and will actively guard her brood for a few weeks until they hatch, during this period, she will not eat or drink.
Spiders contribute a lot in controlling insect population which can be lifesaving to human since they control the population of disease spreading insects as well.
5. Ways To Find Them
They are literally everywhere, different species adapted to different habitat from inside a building to the jungle. They are mostly diurnal (active during the day), making them very easy to spot. They can also be easily identified with their large front eyes, reaction to visual stimuli and a jumpy way of moving. To find them in the wild, just check the bushes and lookout for leaves that are glued together by silk, they can be seen sitting in this makeshift shelter without the need of pulling them apart. They usually prefer plants with bigger leaves to nest in. Mature males can be seen wondering around looking for female.