Phippidus princeps

| 13 Comments

Photograph by Al Denelsbeck.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.

Denelsbeck.Phippidus-princeps__Eupeodes.jpg

Phippidus princepsjumping spider – munching on Eupeodes sp. – hoverfly. Mr. Deneslbeck (“Just Al” to PT readers) is a naturalist and semi-professional photographer. He writes, “Nothing endangered, remarkable, or of particular scientific interest to either of these, I just liked the photo. I haven’t defined why jumping spiders seem to have more personality than other species of arachnid, including those with two distinct eyes in the front, but I don’t think I’m alone.” He runs a website here and recently posted a favorable review of my very favorite book here.

13 Comments

It has just occurred to me that this spider gives a whole new meaning to the epithet, “four eyes.”

Wonderful image. Was the impact / struggle so violent that one of the hoverfly’s legs came loose?

What I find interesting and different about this species of spiders methods is that the spiders I’ve seen in the garden usually wrap their dinner up first before tucking in so no limbs are lost.

wright1 said:

Wonderful image. Was the impact / struggle so violent that one of the hoverfly’s legs came loose?

You know, I never thought about it, but it does seem kind of violent, doesn’t it? It’s not immediately apparent because of the shadow, but the fly is bent at almost 90 degrees - the spider seems to have a grip behind the thorax. Might have been a less-than-ideal capture position.

The spider froze once I’d spotted it, letting me lean in tighter - my initial view was much further out with the strobe getting blocked by leaves. Without the prize, it might simply have fled.

Thanks for the compliment! I’m very happy with myself when I manage good shots, and this one was the capture of the day.

I have a pet jumping spider (not the same species or genus as this one). I feed him live flies, and it is extremely entertaining to watch him stalk and hunt them. Salticids rule!

They have personality because they look like muppets!

I think I’ve got a similar species here, it was the first time I saw the results of a spider hunting without a web:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?p[…]id=576446255

Southern exposure of my house was mostly brick wall with day lilies and morning glories growing along (or on it). As a result I had a fairly large local population of jumping spiders that I’d see in a number of places. The larger ones (up to 3/4”) would even catch small grasshoppers.

My office/computer room had a window high up on this wall and apparently smaller jumping spiders could get in past the screen. This came to my notice one night when I noticed a small jumping spider on the CRT – and it was stalking the cursor. After it chased the cursor back and forth across the screen three or four times I led it over to a midge that was sitting on the screen as well. Spider swept it up in passing and left to enjoy the meal somewhere off screen (literally in this case.)

I love these little samples of evolution in action. The flight style of the hoverfly to safely navigate around webs, and the spider developing a jump to grab the fly anyway*.

*Maybe that’s not the order or purpose the originally solved, but it’s infinitely more coherent than “These spiders here were designed to catch the hoverfly because the other spiders were designed to catch other bugs.”

I think people consider jumping spiders intelligent or curious because of the way they react to visual stimuli, but turning their heads immediately towards the source to get a better look with their high-res eyes in the front.

they also move quickly and jerkily, which makes them a bit comical.

AFAIK, jumping spiders contain the only herbivorous spider:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagheera_kiplingi

love the latin name they chose for it.

Ichthyic said:

I think people consider jumping spiders intelligent or curious because of the way they react to visual stimuli, but turning their heads immediately towards the source to get a better look with their high-res eyes in the front.

they also move quickly and jerkily, which makes them a bit comical.

AFAIK, jumping spiders contain the only herbivorous spider:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagheera_kiplingi

love the latin name they chose for it.

I get the impression that the jumping spiders are the most diet and behavior-diverse spiders, ranging from the spider-eating species of Portia, to the herbivorous parasite Bagheera

Oh, and speaking of jumping spiders and fruit flies, I remember reading about how there was this genera of tephritid fruit flies that had markings on its wings, and abdomen, so that, whenever the hindmost legs were splayed, they would resemble their primary predators, jumping spiders, in an attempt to fool the brainy arachnids.

I know a cat who’s addicted to chasing spots from a laser beam. He’ll chase until he’s exhausted, then he’ll stretch out a paw to ‘catch’ it.

I saw a large spider in the house and pointed the laser at it. I figured the cat might jump on it. But much to the cat’s surprise, the spider jumped when he got near. Cat ran away!

MT and ichthyic are on to it, I think. I had never thought about the muppet comparison, but their proportions do make them cute vs. all other spiders. Short, fat legs on a short fat body covered in colorful fur. I was seriously spider averse, growing up, but jumping spiders never bothered me.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on November 8, 2010 12:00 PM.

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