Mostly-Black Jumping Spider

2010 April 17

Last week, Sam brought me this jumping spider in her blue polyethylene sand bucket. The bucket actually turned out to be a reasonably decent photographing stage, the spider couldn’t get a grip on the side walls and kept sliding back down to the bottom, where I could focus on it [1].

It was mostly black, but looks as if it might have had striping made up of white hairs that have mostly come out. It probably had a rough winter, a lot of hairy arthropods seem to come out of the winter looking pretty scruffy. It also had a tendency to try to charge the camera lens[2], so it was easy enough to get a face picture.

It looks rather like what you would get if you took a Zebra Jumping Spider, Salticus scenicus, and rubbed off most of the white hairs. The remaining hairs are suggestive of the zebra jumper, but are so incomplete that I don’t really feel comfortable comitting to it.

Zebra jumpers are pretty common around here, I’d say they (or something that resembles them) make up a majority of the jumping spiders that I see. They’re quite attractive, alert little spiders (no more than about 5-6 mm long), and (if this is one) then they obviously overwinter as adults. And, now that S_ is raising crickets[3], we have a seemingly endless supply of tiny little pinhead crickets that are ideal size to be eaten by jumping spiders. So if we want to keep jumpers as pets at any point, we have something convenient to feed them.

[1] The bucket also seemed to help in collecting and diffusing the light from the flash, which was somewhat helpful in getting even illumination. It would have worked even better if the bucket hadn’t been blue. That gives me an idea for something to try to manage the light from the camera flash better, I’ll get back to this if it works out.

[2] Jumping spiders have a reputation for being fast, fearless, and aggressive even to their own kind. They also have good vision, and when they see their reflection in your camera lens, they are likely to go after it. So when you are photographing a jumping spider and they jump onto the lens, try not to be startled enough to drop the camera.

[3] She started with 500 crickets, and has been following a standard procedure for getting them to lay eggs which is wildly successful. There are probably over a thousand pinhead crickets hatching out every day at the moment. The adult crickets are also singing pretty much continuously. We currently only have two tarantulas and a grass spider to eat them, so we can acquire a lot more carnivorous arthropods before our ability to feed them runs out.

One Response
  1. April 20, 2010

    Your cricket life cycle logistics chain reminds me of the guy in Bram Stoker’s Dracula who eats sequentially larger animals to gain their “life forces.” He’s a servant of the vampire. You may want to watch out for this.


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