Saturday, April 23, 2016

Finally, my zebra spider photo shoot

I had quite the surprise today when I saw a little zebra spider on a pot outside. This was a fun surprise because I'd been trying to get a photo of a zebra spider all last summer without luck.

It turns out they're very aware of humans and quickly hop away. The one I saw last summer hopped right in a little hole when it saw me and I never saw it come out. I seriously waited around for a while and checked back through the summer in hopes of getting a photo, but I didn't see it. So when I went out today to work with some seeds I'd planted in a pot, it was unexpected to see this little guy just perching on the rim of the pot.

Being a zebra spider, it quickly saw me and jumped up on the brick wall. You can see how well it blended in there!

Can you see it? This photo gives an idea of the spider's actual size. I know it looks massive in the other pics because I was really closing in, but they're actually quite tiny.

I did some reading about this spider today and learned that not only will they tend to notice humans more than the average spider, but they'll also change their behavior around us. That's why their fancy, scientific name Salticus scenicus translates to "theatrical jumper". This did actually happen. The spider noticed me right away, hopped off, and then started moving around, and sort of combing the front of its face. I'm not sure why the spiders would hop around and act "theatrical" with humans.

Another interesting piece of trivia about zebra spiders is that they don't spin webs. Instead, they hop out and just pounce on their prey. I read that one thing they like to eat is mosquitoes, so they're cool with me! The spiders have great eyesight, which also helps with catching prey. They have eight eyes!

You know, I think I can actually see some of those little eyes on the side of his head.

So, have any of you had a chance encounter with a zebra spider? I have a feeling that for the most part, they're more aware of us than we are of them!