Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image A crouched jumping spider, with noticeably bright pedipalps, rests atop a chain-link fence.

October 15, 2015
Male jumping spiders perform dances in attempt to mate

Despite the fact that there are more than 4,000 identified species throughout the world, jumping spiders can be physically recognized by their similar range in size, common fuzziness in body hair, and the organization of their eyes.

Jumping spiders are also well-known for their powerful jumping skills and swift reflexes, intended for pursuing prey and dodging predators — hence their name. They are capable of leaping approximately 50 times their own body length and 25 times their height. This advantage alone makes them deadly predators to insects. Jumping spiders are also equipped with keen eyesight. With the arrangement of their eight eyes, they come very close to having 360-degree vision.

Though jumping spiders are well-known for their hunting capabilities, their unique way of courting also makes their vision, colorations, and agile legs otherwise useful. Because of all the different species, jumping spiders can have many variations of colors and patterns, especially the males. The colors of a male jumping spider can vary from dull or little color, whereas some species can have vividly-batched colors, patterns, or even tufts of feathered hairs on the ends of their legs.

Males that locate a female of their own species will cautiously attempt a courtship dance, allowing the female to observe and decide whether to allow copulation or just eat him. Varying with the species, a male’s courtship dance can resort to waving their legs, displaying colors, zigzagging, sideling, and producing distinct vibrating sounds with thumps for the female to hear. During or shortly after dancing, the male will check to see if the female remains receptive by touching her with his front legs. If it goes well, he will then swiftly proceed to mate.

On www.YouTube.com, you can watch the courtship dance of the jumping spider. I recommend you watch the “peacock jumping spider dance” and see this particular arachnid’s mesmerizing colors and humorous leg-flailing.

Taylor Lindsay is a writer and photographer of wildlife creatures big and small. She can be contacted at CritterChatter@live.com. 

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