Unfortunately for the arachnophobes out there, most spiders can jump!
The jumping spider family is known for their jumping prowess, however, and includes more than six thousand species!
Let’s take a look at nine of nature’s most unique jumping spider species!
- The Giant Jumping Spider
- The Athletic Moss Dweller Spider
- The Peacock Spider
- The Zebra Spider
- Pantropical Jumping Spider
- The Shiny Jumping Spider
About Jumping Spiders
Jumping spiders are members of the Salticidae family. The largest family of spiders with over six thousand species worldwide, Salticidae make up thirteen percent of the total spider population worldwide!
Salticidae are friendly-looking spiders that range in size from one-eighth to three-quarters of an inch long.
Despite their smaller size, these arachnids can jump up to fifty times the length of their body length!
Are Jumping Spiders The Only Spiders That Jump?
No! Most spiders are capable of jumping, but Salticidae species are known for their jumping behavior.
How Do Jumping Spiders Jump?
Jumping spiders do not rely on bulky muscles in their legs for jumping; they cause an extreme change in blood pressure in their segmented legs.
By forcing the blood from the upper body to its legs, the spider causes the legs to extend, and it jumps.
Impressive Jumping Spiders
There are over six thousand species of jumping spiders, so named because of their frequent jumping behavior.
A diverse and widespread family of arachnids, jumping Spiders live on every continent except Antarctica.
These spiders live at both high and low altitudes, in the mountains, and at the beach!
Spiders in the Saltcidae family range in size from 0.08-inches to 1-inch long and can just as high as 6-feet and as far as fifty times their body length.
When it comes to human interaction, though, these are generally shy spiders.
Unlike other spider families, Saltcidae spiders do not use webs to catch prey; they use them as safety lines when jumping, and females use web silk to protect their eggs.
Jumping spider species rely on their jumping ability to capture their prey and use venom or brute strength to bring down a meal.
Most Jumping spiders eat insects (including other spiders) – some species even tackle meals that are twice their size!
This type of takedown is possible due to fantastic eyesight and the ability to camouflage themselves in their surroundings.
Some of the most impressive include the: Giant Jumping Spider, the Athletic Moss Dweller Spider, the Peacock Spider, the Zebra Spider, the Pantropical Jumping Spider, and the Shiny Jumping Spider.
The Largest Jumping Spider
The Giant Jumping Spider or Hyllus Giganteus is the largest species of jumping spider in the world. Native to Sumatra and Australia, this large arachnid measures between 0.71 and 0.98-inches long.
Hyllus Gigantus may seem small compared to other spiders, but it is the largest jumping spider species.
It may seem as though the Giant Jumping Spider is free-falling when they jump, but they actually use two lines of silk as safety lines.
These safety silk lines anchor to wherever the spider is standing.
Unlike many other spiders, the Giant Jumping Spider does not use a web to catch prey. This hunting spider pounces on its food and injects it with venom.
Although venomous, this spider is too small to pose any risk to humans, but their bite can be mildly painful.
The Rarest Jumping Spider
The Athletic Moss Dweller Spider or Sibianor larae is the rarest jumping spider species only recently re-discovered in 2018 (the species was first found in 1924 but was misidentified.)
Native to the bogs of Britain and Norway, this tiny spider measures between 0.05 and 0.09-inches long.
Despite being so small, the Athletic Moss Dweller Spider is impressively athletic and can jump up to six feet high!
The Athletic Moss Dweller Spider has a brown and black mottled coloration. Despite being rare, this species is ordinary to look at – if you can see it at all!
The Most Colorful Jumping Spider
The Peacock Spider or Maratus volans is the most colorful jumping spider species. Male peacock spiders are recognizable by their brilliantly colored abdomen, which they use to impress females.
Unlike males, female peacock spiders are mottled brown and do not quite make the grade for the most colorful jumping spider!
A native Australian spider, the Peacock spider grows to around 0.2 inches long and is named for how the male uses abdominal flaps to display his colors during mating season.
The Peacock Spider is unique not only because of the color of the male but because this species can see the full-color spectrum and the UV range as well.
This spider species is also quite the athlete and can jump up to forty times its body length!
Although it is worth noting that for such a tiny spider, this only equals eight inches. Still, that is a pretty impressive distance!
The Common Jumping Spider
The Zebra Spider or Salticus scenicus is a small species of jumping spider named for the black and white stripes across its abdomen.
The Zebra spider is a common spider that often seeks shelter near humans and usually hides in homes under windowsills.
This small jumper measures 0.20 to 0.35-inches long and is Native to Britain, Europe, America, and the Holarctic region.
The female Zebra spiders are always the biggest, where the males are smaller but have bigger mouthparts.
Like other spiders on our list, this tiny striped spider is quite an accomplished jumper and can jump close to fourteen times its body length. Researchers have even measured the velocity of the Zebra Spider jump at 2.1–2.6 ft/s!
Like the Giant Jumping Spider, the Zebra Spider creates a safety line of silk to anchor themselves to when pouncing on prey.
This line allows them to climb back to their original position and take a second leap if they miss their prey on the first try.
The Most Gluttonous Jumping Spider
The Pantropical Jumping Spider or Plexippus paykulli may not technically be the most gluttonous jumping spider, but we think it deserves the honorary title.
Because this spider will kill prey twice the size of its body!
Native to southeast Asia, the Pantropical Jumping Spider is sometimes seen in other parts of the world because of human involvement.
This jumper measures between 0.35 and 0.47-inches long, and like most spider species, the female is larger than the male.
Plexippus paykulli can also jump approximately ten times its body length, and males also make smaller jumps during competitive mating displays to intimidate their rivals.
Although the Pantropical Jumping Spider is venomous, its venom is not potent, so it relies on brute strength to take down prey.
What makes this spider unusual, though, is that Plexippus Paykulli has a habit of taking down prey twice its size, and it does not mind leaping into other spider webs to snag a meal!
The Weirdest Jumping Spider
The Shiny Jumping Spider or Cosmophasis Umbratica is particularly strange because it is UV sensitive – at least, the males are!
Native to South and Southeast Asia, the Shiny Jumping Spider spends its time in green vegetation and is most active in daylight. This spider measures between 0.375 and 0.75-inches long.
Only the male Shiny Jumping Spider has UV reflecting coloration – this makes them more attractive during mating season.
Unfortunately for male Cosmophasis Umbratica, a UV reflective body also means that you are more visible to predators!
The Shiny Jumping Spider builds a web as a home, but they do not use their silk to catch food.
These unique arachnids use their incredible eyesight to stalk down their prey and pounce on them instead!
Interesting Jumping Spider Facts
Are you interested in learning more fascinating jumping spider facts? Here are some great tidbits!
- Of all spider families, jumping spiders have the best eyesight because they stalk and pounce on their prey rather than rely on a sticky web to catch it!
- When jumping spiders leap, they continue to produce silk as they move through the air, so they always have a safety line.
- Jumping spiders are quite sociable once they are used to a human presence and sometimes use their sharp eyesight to find nearby humans and leap towards them!
- Jumping spiders are easily recognizable by their eye pattern – they have four pairs of eyes, and the anterior central pair is much larger than the others.
- Jumping spiders are a favorite among arachnologists because they are trainable and can jump on command!
- Jumping spiders know how to keep just the right amount of tension in their safety line of silk so that they can land safely every time they jump!
When we think of spiders, we think of sticky webs and creepy crawly legs, but jumping spiders are much more athletic than we give them credit for!
Able to jump ten to fifty times the length of their body, there is no denying that these arachnids are at the top of the class when it comes to the long jump!
For more about these amazing creatures, check out the links below:
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