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Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species

Local animals in this group:

Salticidae

What do they look like?

These spiders are very distinctive. They vary a lot in size (3-17mm), and color, but the arrangement of their eyes will always give them away. They have three or four rows of eyes. The front row look forward, and the middle two eyes in that row are much larger than the others.

All spiders have two body-segments, a cephalothorax in front and an abdomen behind. They have eight legs, all attached to the cephalothorax. On the front they have two small "mini-legs" called palps. These are used to grab prey, and in mating, and are much bigger in male spiders than in females. All spiders have fangs that they use to bite their prey with, like most spiders, jumping spiders have venom glands that produce toxic chemicals that help paralyze and digest their food.

Female spiders are often much bigger than males.

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • male more colorful

Where do they live?

This is the largest family of spiders, with over 5,000 species around the world.

What kind of habitat do they need?

These spiders roam in a wide variety of habitats. Pretty much anywhere they can find prey, they will live.

How do they grow?

Like all spiders, Jumping Spiders hatch from eggs, and the hatchlings are very similar to the adults, only smaller. As they grow they have to shed their skin all at once, this is called molting. Most Jumping Spiders have to molt 5 or 6 times before they become adults.

How long do they live?

Most Jumping Spiders don't live for more than about a year, but some species may live longer, especially in cold climates where they have to be dormant for many months each year.

How do they behave?

Because they rely on their vision to hunt and find mates, these spiders are mostly active during the day. At night, and when molting, they hide in small chambers made of silk and attached to vegetation.

How do they communicate with each other?

Some species in this group have courtship dances. The males are brightly colored, and they wave their front legs and dance to communicate to a female. She often does a dance in response.

What do they eat?

These spiders don't use silk to catch prey, they stalk and pounce on insects and other invertebrates, using their excellent vision.

  • Primary Diet
  • carnivore
    • eats non-insect arthropods

What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten?

This species is very alert, and jumps or runs away if danger threatens. Species in this family will sometimes try to scare away other small predators, waving their front legs and moving their fangs.

How do they interact with us?

Jumping spiders may eat flies and other insects that are pests.

 
University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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. "Salticidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed October 31, 2014 at http://www.biokids.umich.edu/accounts/Salticidae/

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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