The Hunter (Green Jumping Spider) - Dieter Tracy, Click to enlarge image
The Hunter (Green Jumping Spider) - Dieter Tracy, Open Category This gorgeous green jumping spider was found hunting amongst my chilli plants. I was attrached by the bright red and white patterns on its head, which stood out from the dark foliage. I photgraphed it on a palm frond, where it appears translucent in the later afternoon sunshine. Photographed using a Pentax *ist DS, Sigma 50mm EX macro, 1/350, f9.5, ISO 800. Image: Dreter Tracey
© Dieter Tracy

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Family
    Salticidae
    Super Family
    Salticoidea
    Order
    Araneae
    Class
    Arachnida
    Phylum
    Arthropoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    3mm - 12 mm
  • Life history mode
    arboreal, terrestrial
  • Feeding Habits
    arthropod-feeder

Introduction

The jumping spiders are the personalities of the spider world.

Identification

Though generally small in size, their large eyes, prodigious jumping ability, often brilliant colours and cocky, inquisitive activity make them very appealing. Many are daylight hunters, using their excellent vision to track, stalk and calculate distance, before suddenly leaping on their prey, propelled by their strong back legs.

The tropical species include some of the most beautifully coloured jumpers, notably the metallic-hued species of Cosmophasis and the green and yellow bodied, white tufted Clown Spider, Mopsus mormon, among many others. The tropics are also home to a cunningly adept predator of spiders, the sinister looking Portia fimbriata. Covered with lichen-like hair tufts, this jumper uses stalking, ambushing, web invasion and imitation strategies to attack its prey, which ranges from other other jumpers to web builders.

Habitat

Jumping spiders are diurnal and on sunny days they can usually be found on all types of vegetation. They are found in a variety of habitats.


Silken Retreat and Egg Sac
A Jumping Spider's silken retreat and egg sac. Image: Mike Gray
© Australian Museum

Distribution

Australia-wide.



Other behaviours and adaptations

Males are often more strikingly coloured, patterned or adorned with leg or body hair tufts than are females. They use these adornments to impress the females during often elaborate courtship displays. No group illustrates this better than the southern Australia jumpers of the genus Maratus (= Saitis). Its members could justifiably be called peacock spiders, both for the bright colours of the males and the way that they display them. Males have flap-like lateral extensions of the abdomen that fold down along each side and are edged by white hairs. When a red, blue and black coloured male of Maratus volans courts his relatively nondescript mate, he expands and raises the lateral flaps so that the abdomen forms a white-fringed, circular field of colour which is tilted up towards the female above the brightly coloured carapace, a truly spectacular sight.