Tuesday 3 July 2012

Fearsome stripy jumper

Given the current rainy weather, I was pleasantly surprised to find this male Zebra Spider, Salticus scenicus, on my conservatory wall, inside. Zebra spiders have a bare black body, with white scales and some brown scales on the abdomen. They are warmth-lovers, coming out of their hiding places on clear days, often on walls after they have been heated by the sun. Salticus males have huge chelicerae for their size (a tiny 5 mm!), and they can be seen moving their palps over their black chelicerae as they move about. The chelicerae are opened in a display to rival males, and, if the contest escalates both males will face each other and lock their opened chelicerae together in a sparring match, as shown on this video in Arkive featuring a fight:

ARKive video - Zebra spider - overview
A top view of the male Salticus scenicus
Another male showing more brown (photo 20/04/11). The angle allows to see the long fangs folded underneath. Relative to its size, I think they are longer than in Dysdera.
 Despite their tiny size, Salticus make fearsome hunters. A few years back I surprised this male with a fly larger than him.
Male Salticus scenicus with fly (13/05/2009)
Female on 30/04/2011
Do you recognise this female? She is featured in the Bugblog banner. You can see her smaller chelicerae and white palps. Often females have beautifully marked black and white abdomens which give this spider its English name.

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