The Itsy Bitsy Spider

If there’s a small spider on the wall, I can usually handle it. I try to be tough and a good example for my children. There is, however, an arbitrary size threshold after which my husband is summoned. If one meets me on my turf, he’s going to end up under a Kleenex, a shoe or a heavy book (depending on size). I’m simply not one of those forgiving and all-life-loving souls that will gently escort a spider out of the house. Something in my evolutionary background battles my biology training, and will not let me peacefully coexist with these creatures.

And, I have to admit, those scenes with the giant spiders in Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings give me the shivers.

If it is under a certain size, however, and in the great outdoors rather than my shower, I am likely to be tolerant, or even interested, and pull out my camera phone. As we all know, ignorance breeds fear. So, in the spirit of conquering fear, I bring you today’s Species of the Week:

The Zebra Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus)

zebra spider








Zebra Spiders can be found all over North America.

These small (4-7 mm and therefore acceptable) spiders do not build webs. They use their fast reflexes to pounce on unsuspecting victims. They use silk to build safety lines, egg sacs and retreats rather than webs. You will often find them on walls or fences.

Zebra spiders are black and white, with a striped “zebra” pattern on the abdomen. Their legs are relatively short and thick when compared to other spiders.

Their quick movements are almost surreal, like watching a stop motion video. Despite their small size, these ones might freak you out by disappearing from one location and reappearing in another in the blink of an eye (unpredictable little buggers).

Here’s a pretty good YouTube video of a Zebra spider

I’m going to stop looking at spider pictures and videos now.

I will do my best to find a fluffy bunny for the next post.



Posted on June 18, 2014, in Species of the week, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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