Jumping spiders

Family Salticidae Home <------

These are my favourite spiders. When you have attracted their attention, they follow you with their big eyes. They are friendly little creatures that always like to jump on your camera or your fingers.
Their life in the warm radiation of the sun have produced a variety and coloration not matched by any other spider. You can see their colouring even better on my Australian site. Most salticids, 5026 described species in 550 genera, live in the tropics. Although less abundant, 75 species, in 43 genera, can also been found here in Europe.
The salticids live for the most part on vegetation. The rectangular thorax, stout body, the rather short legs, their distinctive eye arrangement and their jumping capabilities make them one of the most easily recognizable families.

Ligonipes semitectus
Ligonipes semitectus, ant mimicking spider from Australia

Some species exhibit an amazing resemblance with ants and are called "ant like " spiders. They belong to the genus Myrmarachne. The one shown on the left was found in Australia. Because of its resemblance to ants, it can walk between them without being attacked.

Salticids can be found everywhere if the sun is shining, on trees, grass and rocks. At night or during rainfall the spiders hide in a dry spot under a small web.
Their large eyes give them excellent eyesight. As most spiders they also have four pairs of eyes. Two large ones in de middle and two small ones are looking forward. Above the front row is a second row of two tiny eyes and behind these there is a set of two large eyes looking upward. All these eyes give them a 360-degree eyesight. Spiders have singular eyes like mammals, unlike the insects that have compound eyes. The eyes can move out or inwards for focusing and they can turn up and down and left and right. The spider can also turn its carapace (breast) more than 45 degrees to look around.

Prey can be noticed from a distance of about 30 - 40 cm. At a distance of 20 cm the spider turns its body so that the two front eyes points to the insect. The muscles in the eye focus the eye on the prey and the eye moves around their optical axis. In this way the spiders scans the object like a modern scanner. The effect is extraordinary. The eyesight is enhanced like a zoom lens and it is capable to adjust its looking angle from 10 to 60 degrees. In experiments it was shown that the spider is capable to distinct dangerous insects and prey. The eyes are also capable to see colour. After the object is recognized as eatable the spider carefully moves towards it victim

As you can see the on the picture they also catch prey, much bigger than themselves. It was spectacular to see the little Salticus scenicus catching the big fly.

Salticids are the tigers among spiders. The spider slowly advances towards its prey. When it is at a reachable distance, it jumps on its prey and grabs it with its jaws. They use their third and/or fourth pair of legs for jumping. If you notice the spider on a wall, often the Salticus scenicus, it seems as mocks at gravity. It jumps of the walls and falls back on it several centimeters further instead of falling down. This is because of its lifeline. If you watch the spider carefully, you can notice that it always releases a lifeline when it jumps. If the jump fails it can crawl back to its original position and it prevents the spider from falling down.
Jumping spiders do not make webs to catch prey. They do use a silken retreat of thick, white, slightly viscid silk in crevices, under stones on the ground, under bark or on the foliage and plants. Many retreat to these little white bags at night or during winter to hibernate. The females lay their eggs in these retreats mostly in spring and summer.

For the American continent there is a large site dedicated to jumping spiders: Jumping spiders in America

 

Salticus scenicus


Genus Aelurillus

Only one species occurs in NW-Europe. Their size varies between 4 and 7 mm.
The male has v-shaped rows of hairs on its head and a pronounced white median stripe on its abdomen.

Aelurillus v-insignitus female Aelurillus v-insignitus male
Aelurillus v-insignitus female Aelurillus v-insignitus male

Genus Ballus

This small spider (3- 5 mm) can be found on broad-leaved bushes and trees, particularly oaks.
The spider sits on my stone washed jeans.

Ballus chalybeius
Ballus chalybeius Ballus chalybeius

Genus Bianor

Only one species can be found in our regions. The spider is small with a size between 3 and 4 mm.
The male spider can be easily recognized by his swollen fore legs.

Bianor aurocinctus.

Bianor aurocinctus.

Bianor aurocinctus female


Genus Carrhotus

The male and female of these species are so differently coloured that they were long denoted as different species. The male has a black head while the female's head has yellow-orange spots. Her body is beautifully coloured with orange and yellow hairs.
The spider can be spotted bushes in the southern parts of Europe. The species is very rare and therefor endangered.

Carrhotus xanthogramma male

Carrhotus xanthogramma female

Carrhotus xanthogramma female Carrhotus xanthogramma male
Carrhotus xanthogramma female Carrhotus xanthogramma female


Genus Cyrba

This beautiful spider can be found in the southern part of NW-Europe
Cyrba algerina male Cyrba algerina female
Cyrba algerina female Cyrba algerina male

Genus Euophrys and Pseudophrys

The spiders belonging to this genus are not larger than 5 mm. Eleven different species can be found in Europe. Males often have their two fore legs darkened and are used in courtship display. The egg sac is guarded by the female. Pseudophrys lanigera's common name is house jumping spider

Pseudophrys lanigera
Pseudophrys lanigera (was Euophrys lanigera)  
Pseudophrys lanigera Pseudophrys lanigera
Pseudophrys lanigera Pseudophrys lanigera
Euophrys frontalis male and female
Euophrys frontalis male and female (photo merged)  
Euophrys frontalis female Euophrys frontalis male
Euophrys frontalis female Euophrys frontalis male
Euophrys erratica  
Euophrys erratica  

Genus Evarcha

Four species occur in Europe. The male is about 5 mm large while the female is about 7 mm. The body of the male has a deep black colour while the body of the female is brown and white. They live in dry meadows and forests.
Evarcha falcata male Evarcha falcata
Evarcha falcata male Evarcha falcata male
Evarcha falcata male
Evarcha falcata male jumps. Note: jumping spiders always jump with a lifeline attached to the origin of the jump (See right picture)
Evarcha falcata female Evarcha falcata female
Evarcha falcata female Evarcha falcata female
Evarcha arcuata female Evarcha arcuata female
Evarcha arcuata female Evarcha arcuata male with its remarkable white lining on the forehead
Evarcha arcuata male
Evarcha arcuata female Evarcha arcuata male
Evarcha jacunda male Evarcha jacunda male
Evarcha jacunda male Evarcha jacunda male

Genus Heliophanus

Eleven species can be found in NW-Europe. The female spider is easily recognized by the white stripe of hairs around the front of the abdomen. Their size varies between 3 and 6 mm. The majority of the species can be found on low vegetation.

Heliophanus kochii female

Heliophanus kochii female

Heliophanus kochii male

Heliophanus cupreus

Heliophanus_cupreus

Heliophanus cupreus male

Heliophanus cupreus female

 

Heliophanus tribulosisHeliophanus tribulosis female


Genus Icius

This genus can be found in the Mediterranean region of NW-Europe.

Icius hamatusIcius hamatusIcius hamatus female

Icius hamatusIcius hamatusIcius hamatus male?

Icius subinermis Icius subinermis Icius subinermis male

Icius subinermis female


Genus Macaroeris (was Eris)

This genus Eris is since 1992 placed in the genus Macaroeris by Wunderlich and are named after the Atlantic islands of Macaronesia . Before that these spiders were placed in the genus Dendryphantes.
Its size varies between 4 - 6 mm and she can be found on branches of trees in the warmer parts of Europe, from the Canary Islands to the Mediterranean region. Central Europe and eastwards to Central Asia.

Eris nidicolens
Macaroeris nidicolens male Macaroeris nidicolens female. picture by Danielle Ganzevoort. Spider found in Spijkenisse, the Netherlands 2006

Genus Marpissa

This spider is, with it size of 11 mm, one of the largest jumping spiders. They all have an elongated abdomen.
Egg sacs are placed in a silken cell under bark, stones or on vegetation and are guarded by the female.
Adult spiders can be found during summer and autumn in forests. Five species can be found in NW-Europe.

Marpissa muscosa Marpissa muscosa Marpissa muscosa female

Marpissa muscosa female. Note the yellow band below the eyes

Marpissa muscosa maleMarpissa muscosa sub adult male

Marpissa pomatiaMarpissa pomatiaMarpissa pomatia female

Marpissa pomatia male


Genus Menemerus

This species is common in the Mediterranean and is absent in Middle- and North-Europe.
Their length varies between 7 and 9 mm. Males have striking white haired pedipalps.
The spiders can be found on sunny walls and rocks often in the surroundings of houses.

Menemerus semilimbatus Menemerus semilimbatus
Menemerus semilimbatus male
Menemerus semilimbatus male
Menemerus semilimbatus female Menemerus semilimbatus female

Genus Myrmarachne

Only one species occurs in NW-Europe. The size of the fast moving spider is 5 - 6 mm and Myrmarachne can be found amongst stones and low vegetation.
The body is brown and black. The male has remarkable large chelicerae (jaws) and normal palps.
Spiders in this genus resembles and mimic the behaviour of ants by waving their front legs to mimic antennae.
They live together with ants and are probably protected because they wander between the ants and therefore avoid being eaten by predators.

Myrmarachne formicaria
Myrmarachne formicaria? female Myrmarachne formicaria male (by Cor Kuipers)

Genus Pellenes

Six species may be found in NW-Europe and can be found between leaf litter and on the bark of trees. Their size is 3 - 7 mm.

Pellenes seriatus Pellenes seriatus
Pellenes seriatus male Pellenes seriatus male

Pellenes arcigerus

Pellenes arcigerus

Pellenes nigrociliatus

Pellenes tripunctatus Pellenes tripunctatus

Genus Phlegra

Three species can be found in Europe. The spider measures 6 - 7 mm and can be found amongst low vegetation on sand hills and on shingle.

Phlegra fasciata female Phlegra fasciata female
Phlegra fasciata female Phlegra fasciata female
Phlegra fasciata female Phlegra fasciata male
Phlegra fasciata female Phlegra fasciata male


Genus Philaeus

The only member in this genus in our region. The male has a striking red abdomen. Their size is between 7 and 12 mm.
These spiders can be found between rocks, sometimes at high altitudes in the southern part of Europe. The spider is rare.

Philaeus chrysops male Philaeus chrysops female
Philaeus chrysops male Philaeus chrysops female
Philaeus chrysops female Philaeus chrysops male
Philaeus chrysops female Philaeus chrysops male

Genus Pseudicius

One species can be found in Europe. It resembles Marpissa muscosa but it is only half the size.
It can be found in woodland, amongst leaf-litter and moss as well on the bark of trees. It size varies between 4.5 and 5.5 mm.

Pseudicius encarpatus


Genus Saitis

The male spider is remarkably beautiful with its white tufted red painted third leg pair that he uses to attract female spiders.
See courtship dance of Saitis barbipes.
The size of the spider is 5 - 6 mm and can be found around the Mediterranean on houses and rocks.

Saitis barbipes female Saitis barbipes male
Saitis barbipes male Saitis barbipes male

Genus Salticus

Four species of salticus can be found. Salticus scenicus is the most common one. Their size is between 3 and 7 mm.
They are capable of catching large prey as can be seen at the top of the page and below.
The common name of S. scenicus is zebra spider. Salticus scenicus can be found on the walls of your house when the sun is shining.
Its size is between 5 -7 mm and it has a remarkable white and black stripe pattern.

.Salticus scenicus .Salticus scenicus
.Salticus scenicus .Salticus scenicus male (note is enormous fangs compared with thew female)
Salticus zebraneus Salticus zebraneus
Salticus zebraneus Salticus zebraneus
Salticus zebraneus
Salticus zebraneus Salticus cingulatus with prey

Genus Sitticus

Thirteen species can be found in Europe. Their size varies between 4 - 8 mm.

Sitticus pubescens Sitticus pubescens female
Sitticus pubescens female Sitticus pubescens

Sitticus pubescens female

Sitticus pubescens male

Sitticus rupicola male Sitticus rupicola male
Sitticus rupicola male Sitticus rupicola male
Sitticus rupicola male
Sitticus rupicola female Sitticus rupicola male

Ed Nieuwenhuys, 18 August 2013
11 mei 2013, 10 January 2009, 12 november 2006, 21 juni 2006, 26 october 2005, 20 october 1996, 14 juli 1996