JUMPING SPIDERS! The cutest faces in the spider world! But there are some jumpers that go far beyond the tiny tan jumpers in your backyard. Jumping spiders go to the extremes in terms of fashion and intelligence. These are just some of the extreme weirdos of the Salticidae family:
Maratus sp., the Peacock Spiders
These bizarre color variations and insane dance moves are the male peacock spider’s way of attracting a mate. His abdomen is flat and when he isn’t doing his little cha-cha, it folds up so that it looks like a normal spider abdomen (except with all those iridescent colors). They were actually once described (falsely) as being able to use these flaps like wings to fly (hence the species name volans, meaning “flying”) The females, on the other hand, are always a drab brown. These spiders are absolutely tiny, being able to fit on a child’s fingernail!
Myrmarachne sp., Ant Mimic Jumper
I know I know “Caine, you’re going crazy! Those aren’t jumping spiders!” Uh, yeah. They are. That weird hard-to-pronounce name means “ant spider.” While there are quite a few species of spider that mimic ants, none do it quite like the jumpers. They look like ants, they hang out with ants (while keeping a good distance), and they act like ants, holding their front pair of legs up in front of them to look like antennae. Males have huge chelicarae, making them look like a large ant carrying a smaller one.
Bagheera kiplingi, the Vegetarian spider
If you’re still surprised by now, you should lie down. These spiders are mostly vegetarian, getting most of their nutrients from plants. Upon occasion during the dry season and in areas where their plant of choice (the little orange nubs on the ends of Acacia leaves) are sparse, they will consume nectar from flowers and rarely they will steal larvae from passing ants. Other than that, these little jumpers are all veggie.
Evarcha culicivora, the Vampire Spider
Don’t freak out! These little Draculas aren’t coming for your blood. They eat mostly mosquitoes — primarily females that are full of blood. They rely on… well, “smell” to choose the mosquitoes that are full of blood as opposed to most jumpers that rely mostly on their superb vision. But wait! The best part is that the species of mosquitoes they prey on is that they are the main carriers of malaria! Don’t have malaria? Thank the vampire spider!
Portia, sp., the Cannibals
These spiders are, in fact, named after the car “Porsche.” Pretty cool, huh? These are the most highly evolved, highly specialized, and most intelligent of all spiders. They prey almost exclusively on other spiders, using incredible techniques that have never before been seen in spiders. They are capable of learning and adapting, and possess amazing problem-solving skills usually associated with animals that have… larger brains. Looking like crumpled leaves that may fall on a web-maker’s web, they use the web-weaver’s poor vision to their advantage. They make aggressive movements that mimic the prey a spider may find on its web. When it draws the weaver out, it then pounces with amazing speed. They also have a degree of memory — they can memorize which patters of movements work best to draw out certain species of web-weavers. Each Portia is different and unique, and techniques may vary between each individual spider. A true testament to evolution and learning capacity for spiders!
So are you convinced yet? Jumping spiders are amazing, bizarre, and extreme!
(Pictures are not mine. The internet is a vast sea of faceless artists. If you know the sources, feel free to add them. Just do not alter content.)
Happy hunting, spiderlings! Your noble spider knight,
This entire post is magic <3.
Someone was talking about a beetle man that looked similar to a knight, so I tried my hand at the idea. It took maybe a few hours?
This is amazing, god damn. The design is awesome. Loving the wing detail and the Goliath Beetle pattern on the torso as well! Although, I do wonder if the wing movement would be restricted somewhat if the elytra (wing case) remained stationary like that? Unless of course, the wings are just for display. Just a thought :)
INFJ: Visions of the future
ESTP: Superhuman strength
ESFP: Ability to freeze time
INFP: Literary manipulation
ESTJ: Power negation
ESFJ: Healing powers
ISFJ: Visions of the past
ENTP: Dimensional travel
ISTJ: Photographic memory
ENFP: Reality warping
ISFP: Shape shifting
ENTJ: Mind control
ENFJ: Empathic powers
This showy beetle (30 mm) belongs to the subspecies Protaetia speciosa jousselini (Coleoptera - Scarabaeidae - Cetoniinae), distributed in southern eastern Anatolia, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq and Iran.
Photo credit: ©Nikola Rahmé