Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Salticidae, Adorable Predators
For the past couple of years, the main focus of my taxonomy research has been the family Salticidae. Their common name is the Jumping Spiders, and they come in a range of sizes. They're relatively small, especially compared to my tarantulas, but they've got big personality.
Maybe it's not good "Science" to refer to my spiders as "adorable," but I can't think of a better word for the entire Salticidae family. They're said to have the best vision of any of the spiders, and it's not too hard to believe, if you look at those big front eyes.
Now onto the fun, science stuff!
Salticidae is the largest family of spiders, with something like 4400 described species. In the United States, we have a little over 315 known species, with many more, I'm sure, yet to be described. There are, last time I checked, 63 genera of Salticids just in the United States.
Jumping Spiders come in all shapes and colors. Some look like little bits of wood, others are eerily accurate mimics of ants. Many in the genus Phidippus have bright, metallic, green chelicera.
Jumping spiders are very intelligent little spiders. They're always fun to watch and observe.