Salticidae, Jumping Spiders

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Most salticids, 5000 or more species, live in the tropics. In Australia 76 genera and 252 described species are present. The spiders are daylight hunters and can be easily spotted. Their size is relatively small (3-20 mm) but most of them are smaller than 10 mm. A lot of them are coloured beautifully. Most salticids hunt 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.

Some species exhibit an amazing resemblance with ants and are called "ant like" spiders. Because of its resemblance to ants, it can walk between them without being attacked. Five genera of ant-mimicking spider occur in Australia: Judalana, Ligonipes, Rhombonotus, Damoetas and Myrmarachne.
Ligonipes semitectus

The jumping spider 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 this 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.

Jumping spiders are not toxic.


Genus Arasia

Arasia ZZ055 Arasia ZZ056
Arasia mollicoma Arasia mollicoma Found on eucalyptus bark between Emerald and Clermont, Queensland
Arasia ZZ499 Arasia ZZ499
Arasia ZZ499 Arasia ZZ499
Arasia ZZ029 Arasia ZZ029
Arasia ZZ029 Arasia ZZ029

Genus Astia

Astia nodosa Astia nodosa
Astia nodosa Astia nodosa
Astia hariola Astia hariola
Astia hariola Astia hariola

Genus Astilodes

Astilodes mariae Astilodes mariae
Astilodes mariae Astilodes mariae

Genus Bathipus

Bathippus montrouzieri ? Bathippus montrouzieri ?
Bathippus montrouzieri ? Bathippus montrouzieri ?

Genus Clynotis

Clynotis severus Clynotis severus
Clynotis severus Clynotis severus

Cosmophasis_ZZ049_F0746

Cosmophasis_ZZ049_F0749

Clynotis ZZ049 Clynotis ZZ049

Genus Cosmophasis

The head of this spider has a metallic green and black coloring. The chelicera (jaws) are extremely long. It waves its white palps very quickly.

Cosmophasis micarioides Cosmophasis micarioides
Cosmophasis micarioides Cosmophasis micarioides

Cosmophasis_ZZ032_F0634

Cosmophasis_ZZ034_F0724

Cosmophasis ZZ032

Cosmophasis ZZ034

Cosmophasis micans male Cosmophasis micans male
Cosmophasis micans?
Cosmophasis micans? female Cosmophasis micans? female
Cosmophasis micans? Cosmophasis micans?
Cosmophasis micans? Cosmophasis micans?

Cosmophasis_ZZ058_F0630

Cosmophasis_ZZ059_F0680

Cosmophasis thalassina
Probably introduced in QLD parks from Malaysia.

Cosmophasis ZZ059


Genus Cytaea

Cytaea severa Cytaea severa?
Cytaea severa Cytaea severa
Cytaea xanthopus Cytaea xanthopus
Cytaea xanthopus Cytaea xanthopus
Cytaea ZZ036
Cytaea ZZ036 Cytaea ZZ036


GenusDamoetas

Damoetas nitidus Damoetas nitidus
Damoetas nitidus Damoetas nitidus

Genus Euryattus

Euryattus bleekeri Euryattus bleekeri
Euryattus bleekeri Euryattus bleekeri
Euryattus bleekeri Euryattus bleekeri
Euryattus bleekeri Euryattus bleekeri
Euryattus_ZZ030_F0589 ryattus_ZZ030_F0590

Euryattus ZZ030

Euryattus ZZ030

Eryattus bleekeri Eryattus bleekeri
Eryattus bleekeri Eryattus bleekeri

Genus Hasarius

Hasarius adansoni (Adanson's House Jumper) Hasarius adansoni

Genus Helpis

In Australia three species occur in this genus. These spiders are active hunters on leaves during the day in shaded situations.

Helpis minitabunda male
The common name of this spider is Bronze aussie jumper. The spider is between 8 - 10 mm and the malse are larger than the females. Females have another and lighter colour pattern. The males front pair legs are longest. These spiders ocuur in QLD, VIC and NSW
Helpis minitabunda female Helpis minitabunda female

Genus Holoplatys

Holoplatys lhotsky

 

Holoplatys lhotsky

A small jumping spider, with a body adpated for entering cracks and folds in bark. This spider can be found in the cracks and folds in bark, especially the eucalypt bark.
Its long slender body is adapted to its surroundings.

Holoplatys lhotsky

Holoplatys lhotsky


Genus Hypoblemum

Hypoblemum albovittatum female
Hypoblemum albovittatum female Hypoblemum albovittatum female
Hypoblemum albovittatum female Hypoblemum albovittatum female
Hypoblemum albovittatum Hypoblemum albovittatum
Hypoblemum albovittatum from New Zealand Northern island Hypoblemum albovittatum From QLD
Hypoblemum albovittatum male Hypoblemum albovittatum male
Hypoblemum albovittatum male Hypoblemum albovittatum male

Genus Jotus

Jotus auripes

Jotus auripes

Jotus auripes

Jotus auripes. Note the characteristic blue eyes

Jotus auripes Jotus auripes
Jotus auripes Jotus auripes
ZZ124 ZZ124
Jotus? ZZ124 Jotus? ZZ124

Genus Judalana

Judalana lutea Yellow ant-mimicking spider. The only member in this genus and found only in Queensland

more info here -->


Genus Ligonipes

Ligonipes semitectus Ligonipes semitectus

Ligonipes semitectus an ant-mimicking spider.

Ligonipes semitectus

 


Genus Lycidas

Lycidas scutulatus Lycidas scutulatus
Lycidas scutulatus Lycidas scutulatus

Genus Maratus formerly Saitis

This male' peacock spider', Maratus volans, is one of Australia's spectacular spiders. The spider has a cape or flaps around its abdomen. He was falsely named 'gliding spider' because it was thought the spider could glide on his flaps through the air.
When the brightly coloured male courts with his relatively duller mate he expands his flaps like a peacock's tails and raises his with white hairs tipped legs. A spectacular courtship dance of this 'peacock spider'.

More info and pictures here --->

Maratus volans QLD (was Saitis volans). Peacock spider. Maratus volans QLD (was Saitis volans). Peacock spider

Maratus pavonis WA Picture by Farhan Bokhari

Maratus pavonis WA Picture by Farhan Bokhari

All Maratus volans images copyright Jurgen Otto
An illustrated review of the known peacock spiders of the genus Maratus from Australia, with description of a new species, Jürgen C. Otto and David E. Hill, PECKHAMIA 96.1, 1 December 2011, 1―27


Genus Menemerus

Menemerus bivittatus female Menemerus bivittatus male
Menemerus bivittatus female Menemerus bivittatus male

Genus Mopsus

A genus with only one spider named Mopsus mormon, formerly also named Mopsus penicillatus.
The common name of this spider is Green jumping spider or Northern green jumping spider. They are found in Eastern Australia and New Guinea.
This is Australia's largest jumping spider. The female measures up to 18 mm while the male is around 12 mm in body length. The spider catches large prey during day-time with its stout two front pairs of legs. Their colour varies widely with their surrounding but is predominantly green. They can be found on broad green leaves and tree trunks.

Mopsus_penicillatus_F0682

Mopsus mormon female

Mopsus mormon male. Note the white whiskers on its head.

   

And her front legs are capable of catching large prey.
Mopsus mormon male. Even his own kind is taken. But wasps are also serious enemies.

Genus Myrmarachne

Myrmarachne plataleoides Myrmarachne plataleoides
Myrmarachne plataleoides Myrmarachne plataleoides
Myrmarachne_ZZ462_D6256

Some spiders mimic other insects. As is the case with most spiders that mimic ants, the color of the spider is almost the same as the ant it mimics.
Also it abdomen has often an slight constriction to mimic the three segment of an ant. These spiders mix freely with ants, and feed on them when a single ant gets away from the others. Jumping spiders are not the only spiders family that mimic ants also Clubionidae (sac spiders) in the genera Castianeira and Apochinomma imitate ants.

Five genera of ant-mimicking spider occur in Australia: Judalana, Ligonipes, Rhombonotus, Damoetas and Myrmarachne.

Rhombonotus or Myrmarachne species  

Genus Ocrisiona

Ocrisiona leucocomis Ocrisiona leucocomis
Ocrisiona leucocomis? was found under the bark of a tree near Brisbie Island. The spider was hidden beneath a sheet of silk.

Genus Opisthoncus

With 25 describes species Opistoncus is one of the largest genera of the Australian Salticidae.
Males often differ substantially from females in colour pattern.
The spiders are often brown to black and often have a pattern white, grey, brown or black zig-zag pattern on the abdomen.
The cephalothorax (head-breast part) has often patches of white, brown or yellow patches and brown to red rings around their eyes.
The spider hunts during day-time like most salticids.

Opisthoncus_ZZ062_F0499

Opisthoncus polyphemus female

Opisthoncus polyphemus female. Her size is 8-9 mm, the male 6-7 mm. Habitat: screrophyl (hard-leaved) forest, heathland and woodland

Opisthoncus polyphemus male Opisthoncus mordax
Opisthoncus polyphemus male Opisthoncus mordax male
Opisthoncus parcedentatus Opisthoncus parcedentatus
Opisthoncus parcedentatus Opisthoncus parcedentatus

Opisthoncus parcedentatus_F0622

Opisthoncus parcedentatus?

Opisthoncus parcedentatus female

Opisthoncus_ZZ050_RF0237 Opisthoncus_ZZ050_RF0238

Opisthoncus ZZ050

Opisthoncus ZZ050

Opisthoncus mordax female Opisthoncus mordax female
Opisthoncus mordax male Opisthoncus mordax male
species ZZ188 species ZZ188
ZZ276 Opistoncus? QLD ZZ276 Opistoncus? QLD
ZZ053_F0772 Opisthoncus ZZ031
Opisthoncus? ZZ053 Opisthoncus ZZ031
Opisthoncus ZZ398 Opisthoncus ZZ398
Opisthoncus ZZ398 Opisthoncus ZZ398


Genus Plexippus

The common name of this spider is house fly catcher. The female is 7-9 mm long and the male 6-7 mm. It lives throughout the tropics

Plexippus petersi Plexippus petersi
Plexippus petersi male Plexippus petersi male
Plexippus paykulli Plexippus paykulli
Plexippus paykulli Plexippus paykulli

Genus Prostheclina

Prostheclina pallida male Prostheclina pallida male
Prostheclina pallida male Prostheclina pallida male
Prostheclina pallida female Prostheclina pallida male
Prostheclina pallida female Prostheclina pallida male


Genus Rhombonotus

Rhombonotus gracilis

Rhombonotus gracilis Rhombonotus gracilis
Rhombonotus gracilis ant mimicking spider 3 - 4 mm long Rhombonotus gracilis Common name: Graceful Rhombonotus
More here: saveourwaterwaysnow.com.au

Genus Sandalodes

Sandalodes bipenicillatus Sandalodes bipenicillatus
Sandalodes bipenicillatus Sandalodes bipenicillatus
Sandalodes? bipenicillatus? Sandalodes? bipenicillatus?


Genus Servaea

The six described species of Servaea are generally found in Eastern Aaustralia. One species is found on Java.
Servaea vestita with a body length of 8 - 10 mm is very hairy and variable in colouring and pattern. An inverted Y-shape can be seen on the middle of her abdomen. Males and females look similiar.
Servaea vestita Servaea vestita
Servaea vestita Servaea vestita
Servaea vestita Servaea vestita
Servaea vestita Servaea vestita
Servaea vestita
Servaea vestita
Servaea ZZ587 Servaea ZZ573
Servaea ZZ587 Servaea ZZ573

Genus Simaetha

Simaetha thoracica Simaetha thoracica
Simaetha thoracica Simaetha thoracica juvenile
Simaetha thoracica Simaetha thoracica
Simaetha thoracica male Simaetha thoracica female
Simaetha thoracica Simaetha thoracica
Simaetha thoracica female Simaetha thoracica on her nest
Simaetha thoracica is very similar to Simaetha tenuidens and are called Brown jumpers. These spiders are 5 - 8 mm long. young spiders are covered with golden hairs they loose when older. The female has attractive whiskers  
Eight species of Simaetha occur in Australia  

 


Genus Simaethula

These small jumping spiders closely related to Simaetha but they are smaller.
Females are generally 2-4 mm and males 1-3 mm.
 
Simaethula auratus Simaethula auratus
Simaethula auratus Simaethula auratus
Simaethula ZZ483 Simaethula ZZ507
Simaethula ZZ483 Simaethula ZZ507
Simaethula ZZ559  
Simaethula ZZ559  

Genus Sondra

Sondra nepenthicola Sondra nepenthicola
Sondra nepenthicola Sondra nepenthicola

Genus Thyene

Thyene_ZZ026_F0504

 

Thyene ZZ026

Thyene_ZZ026

A small jumping spider.

Thyene ZZ026

 


Genus Zenodores

Zenodorus orbiculatus

This 7-9 mm long spider can found between grass, on leaves or bark hunting soft bodied bugs and flies. It are active hunter in shady situation during the day. The spider can be found in coastal heathland in QLD and NSW . Male and females are similar in appearance.
The spider name was formerly named Pystera orbiculata.

Zenodorus orbiculatus

Zenodorus orbiculatus

The spider name was formerly Pystera orbiculata. This 7-9 mm long spider can found hunting on soft bodied bugs and flies. Zenodorus orbiculatus
Pystira_orbiculata_F0851


Unknown genera

ZZ565 ZZ565

ZZ046_RF0507

ZZ046_RF0508

species ZZ046

species ZZ046

ZZ051_F0756

ZZ051_F0755

species ZZ051

species ZZ051

ZZ047_RF0416

ZZ040_F0832

species ZZ047

species ZZ040
ZZ136

Sandalodes or Orisiona ZZ275

species ZZ136

Opisthoncus? ZZ275

ZZ156 ZZ156
species ZZ156 species ZZ156
species ZZ188 species ZZ188
species ZZ186 species ZZ186
species ZZ188 ZZ188
ZZ277 species ZZ188

ZZ027_F0542

ZZ038_RF0388

species ZZ028

species ZZ038

 

Ed Nieuwenhuys, 18 August 2012

28 December 2011,
20 april 2011, 14 december 2010 , 17 april 2010, 9 august 2009, 14 december 2008 , 15 november 2008, 26 november 2006, 14 juli 1996

Pictures on this page by Ronald Loggen, Jurgen Otto, Robert Whyte and Ed Nieuwenhuys

Copyright ã 1997-2012