Jumping spider!

A tiny jumping spider
Jumping spider (Family Salticidae), Westminster, Colorado, USA. September 6, 2012.

Jumping spiders are my favorite kind of spider. They have big eyes and interesting behaviors, and for those of us capable of finding spiders cute, they’re just like fuzzy little eight-legged kittens, even down to the pouncing.

Last night I was wandering around my apartment complex, checking the lights for interesting insects for my class collection, when my partner spotted this tiny jumping spider on the mailroom door. I picked it up with the graduation announcement I’d been using to scoop bugs into my kill jar (hence the attractive swirly background in some pictures), and we watching it scampering about, grooming and head-tilting and generally being adorable.

Then an insect fell down from the light above, stunned. The jumping spider stopped grooming, froze, and then rushed over (a few inches) and bit the insect, then backed off to avoid the death throes. Once the insect stopped twitching, the spider hurried back to feed.

At which point I ran back to my apartment to grab a camera, even though I didn’t expect to get good photos (I was correct, and unfortunately the earlier ones while it’s still feeding are the worst). Still, they do preserve something of my excitement at getting to see this–I will at some point probably try catching and feeding some jumping spiders during the day to get video.

Feeding:

Feeding jumping spider (Family Salticidae)

Done eating:

Feeding jumping spider (Family Salticidae)

A top view:

Jumping spider (Family Salticidae)

How can anyone not love that little face?

Jumping spider (Family Salticidae)

To see some spectacular photos of jumping spiders, check out Thomas Shahan on Flickr or at his website.

And I leave you with a spectacular and hilarious video of peacock spider courtship, featuring scientist Jürgen Otto, who films and edits his own wonderful documentaries about Australian peacock spiders:

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