Zebra Spider

The Zebra spider (Salticus scenicus) is an ordinary household jumping spider. In the same vein as other jumping spiders, this spider does not build a web. Four pairs of large eyes allow the Zebra spider to quickly locate prey, pounce, and hunt. It has been noted and observed by humans that the Zebra spider is considered curious and cat-like while hunting. This spider seems to be aware of its audience and the spider responds to his audience by lifting his head and studying its observers.

Male Zebra spiders measure about 0.2-0.23 inches in body length and female Zebra spiders measure about 0.2-0.3 in body length. Like most jumping spiders, the most distinguishing characteristic of the Zebra spider is its two large eyes. The Zebra spider has eight eyes in total, however, the two front eyes gives the spider outstanding binocular vision. This spider is black with white stripes.

The Zebra spider is common throughout Britain and Europe and has been found across the Holarctic ecozone. This spider usually lives in or near human settlements. It may be found on plants, walls, fences (on sunny days), behind curtains and on indoor window sills.

This spider generally hunts spiders about its own size or smaller and insects, but it ignores unappetizing insects, such as ants. It has been noted that this spider also feeds on mosquitoes that are twice its own length. While hunting, the Zebra spider uses its acute eyesight to accurately estimate the distance needed to jump. The spider glues a silk thread to the surface that it jumps fromso it may climb the thread and attempt again if it misses its target.

When Zebra spiders meet, the male courts the female by waving his front legs and moving his abdomen up and down in a dance. Although arachnologists have not discovered what the females look for in the mating dance, if the dance is good the female will want to mate. Occasionally males will perform the mating dance in front of other males; when this occurs the two males typically fight. The female Zebra spider stays with its egg sacs and guards them even after they hatch. The spiderlings leave their mother after their second molt.

In the United Kingdom, Zebra spiders are not protected by law.

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