A tiny jumper

Thiodina sylvana head

Thiodina sylvana head

How about this for a set of eyes! This creature has eight eyes; six of them are visible in the photograph above, and you can imagine where the other two are on the other side of the head. The two eyes in the front (left side of the photograph) are particularly large. The bright orange hairs really set off the dark eyes. Evidently, the creature that bears all this ocular equipment has a real need to see well.

As you have probably guessed, this is the head of a jumping spider. These creatures do not make a web, but creep around using their big eyes to look for prey…usually a small insect of some sort. Then they capture their victim by a quick dash. They are also able to jump quite long distances, and they use this ability primarily to evade predators. Even though they do not make a web, they can produce silk. They produce a strand of silk behind them as they move around, and can lower themselves to the ground to escape danger by using a strand of silk.

Thiodina sylvana next to Joyce's finger

Thiodina sylvana next to Joyce’s finger

Thiodina sylvana next to Joyce's fingernail

Thiodina sylvana next to Joyce’s fingernail

Joyce spotted the small jumping spider outside our front door, and we managed to capture it in a pill bottle. The two photographs above show this spider’s diminutive size. It is a specimen of Thiodina sylvana, sometimes called the Woodland Jumping Spider.

Jumping spiders are really fun, and it is quite a challenge to get a photograph of one as it scurries around on a table top. The first time we tried, the spider eluded us after it made a mighty jump, and we could not find it. However, we spotted it the next day when it ventured out onto the countertop. We were then able to get the photographs shown in this post.

Side view of Thiodina sylvana

Side view of Thiodina sylvana

It liked to rear up and face its potential enemies (in this case Joyce) head on.

Thiodina sylvana front view showing eyes and palps

Thiodina sylvana front view showing eyes and palps

Thiodina sylvana three quarter front view showing eyes and palps

Thiodina sylvana three quarter front view showing eyes and palps

The two photographs above show the prominent eyes and the two palps, which are the small appendages extending from just under the cephalothorax.

Jumping spiders are really quite fascinating little creatures. They are recognizable because of their shape…they are squared off in the front. The next time you see one, take a closer look.

No spiders were harmed in the production of this blog post!


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