I will be the first to admit I do not like spiders very much. In fact I have quite a bad phobia of them.
However Jumping Spiders have started to win me over. I am not sure if this is because they are generally rather small or because once you have a camera on them you get to see them quite differently.
With their colourful shiny eyes (8 of them) and their long eyelashes. It is quite amazing what the camera will pick up that the human eye can not see.
The jumping spider family (Salticidae) contains more than 500 described genera and about 5,000 described species, making it the largest family of spiders. New Zealand has about 150 species of jumping spiders.
Jumping spiders have the keenest eyesight of all spiders, with eyes that are capable of forming images. All jumping spiders have four pairs of eyes with particularly large anterior median eyes.
Most spiders don’t need good eyesight, relying instead on other cues such as vibration to locate prey. However, the jumping spiders is an exception. It has two big central eyes to help it identify targets and estimate distance – important abilities for an animal that pounces on its prey. With its other eyes, it can detect movement virtually all around itself.
If you have a few minutes check out this youtube video on the Peacock Jumping Spider (Maratus speciosus). These colourful little gems are not in NZ but are worth having a look at 🙂