male zebra spider

i’m beginning to wonder what else is going to show up in my room…
this zebra spider was quickly moving over the inside (!) of my insect screen.

male zebra spider (salticus scenicus)
male zebra spider (salticus scenicus)

after caroline’s comment on the naming of alfred, i decided to call this one junior.
reading up on zebra spiders, i found out that this is a male (it has strongly elongated chelicerae.1)
this species is part of the salticidae family (jumping spiders), whose jumps are very precise and cover distances up to 20 times their own body size.
most (all?) salticid spiders have 8 eyes, 4 of which are sitting on the front of the head like huge headlights. the central pair of these is bigger and is equivalent to telezoom lenses: the retinas are movable so it is possible to focus on any object, and even change the visual angle without moving the body.

the zebra spider is very common on housefronts, in houses and on rocks or gardenfences. male spiders are usually only seen between may and july.

while i was taking pictures, junior sometimes suddenly disappeared from the viewfinder, and i found him sitting on the outer rim of the camera lense. cool strategy: if something big supposedly wants to eat you, jump right at its eye!

  1. chelicerae are the mouth parts of arachnids. many species have chelicerae with poison glands. []

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