The Modern Nature Reserve; My Back Garden – Jumping Spiders, the Supermodels of the Arachnids.
In my first ever article, I mentioned how small my garden was; also, how most of it is covered in either decking or slabs. This however has never stopped nature from establishing itself. One of my residents is none other than the Zebra jumping spider.
According to Wikipedia the zebra back spider (Salticus scenicus) is a common jumping spider of the Northern Hemisphere. This spider does not build a web for hunting like the other common UK resident do, the Garden spider; instead, the zebra spider like all other jumping spiders are like big cats of our own back gardens; they hunt by stalking their prey. Looking at the photo, you can see why they are more capable of stalking their prey as opposed to other spiders’ hunting strategies; these little dudes have been gifted with the huge anterior median eyes relative to their body size; I think the size of their eyes make them look cute (others might disagree). When they have located their prey, stalked it and are within a striking distance, they pounce on their prey utilising hydro force rather than muscle power to jump on to their prey. The fact that they can tackle prey larger than themselves is impressive considering they do not utilise the web to subdue their prey.
The male zebra jumping spider is slightly smaller than the female; females tend to be between 5-9mm, whilst males range between 5-6mm. The males, however, have very large jaws (chelicerae) compared to females; have a look at the comparison photos I took below.
Lastly, when I went to Zimbabwe, I was able to photograph some different species of jumping spiders I have never seen before; have a look at the below photos: