Myrmarachne jumping spider is a distinct genus of ant-mimicking jumping spiders. Like other jumping spiders, this species is an integral member of the family Salticidae and was first described by W.S. MacLeay in 1839.
Although the Myramarchne is commonly referred to as ant-mimicking jumping spiders, our leaper friends aren’t the only jumping spider species with this attribute. And if you’re interested in the genealogy of their name, we are happy to inform you that their name comes from a combination of ancient Greek words, which, when loosely translated, means “ant spiders.” Although this genus has experienced many changes over the years, it is still under review as experts continue to gather more information about this intelligent species of jumping spider.
In 2016, for instance, several genera were split off, including the monotypic, Helicius, and Pancharishta. Also, the genus Emertonius went through a revalidation process in 2018 after many years of being synonymized with Myrmarachne.
Now that we have given you a bit of background about the Myrmarachne, it’s time we take you through everything you need to know about our spider friends.
What is their scientific name?
Most jumping spiders indeed have a scientific name that has followed them for many years, so we don’t expect our spider friend to be different. But before we tell you their scientific name, let us quickly add that our leaper friends are commonly referred to as ant-mimicking jumping spiders.
Although they aren’t the only jumping spiders with these attributes, when we show you what they look like by way of their physical description, you’ll understand the reason for the name.
As per their scientific name, our leaper friends are called the Myrmarachne.
Physical description and size
While they may not be the biggest jumping spiders out there, they aren’t small either. With a body length that measures between 3 to 9 mm, the Myrmarachne can stand up to any medium-sized jumping spider in terms of their body length.
When you look at their head from above, it seems somewhat parallel-sided, with their posterior eyes overlapping the edges of their cephalothorax. More so, their cephalothorax looks a bit subdivided into anterior and posterior parts. If you look at their carapace from the side, you’ll notice that it is either high or low. Plus, their abdomen is a bit elongate and has a peak of varying heights to the anterior parts.
This jumping spider’s overall look shows that it looks quite ant-like. And guess what, it isn’t alone as some other species also look remarkably ant-like.
They have chelicerae with a line of retromarginal teeth. And while adult females have three pro marginal teeth, their male counterparts have none. Additionally, the Myrmarachne has extremely slender legs, with their fourth pair appearing the longest.
Adult males of this jumping spider species have a palp that features a long and slender embolus that rises from the proximal edge of their tegulum, extending sharply to wrap around their tegulum in a clockwise direction. Similarly, males have a short and slender retro-lateral tibial apophysis.
Adult females of this species have two distinct epigynal atria along with clear guides. These are medially located copulatory openings that lead to insemination ducts.
Where are they from?
The exquisitely ant-like Myrmarachne typically has a widespread distribution and is found in almost all countries. With over a hundred species extending from the Old World to a few in the Neotropics, you’ll stumble on the Myrmarachne in the most unlikely of places.
While our furry friends have a strong presence in Asia, where there are over 80 described and undescribed species, they have extended their reach to Australia, where you’ll typically find them in Tasmania and higher rainfall areas.
A few species of this jumping spider, such as the Palearctic M. formicaria, are believed to occur in temperate regions.
As of July 2019, the Myrmarachne is said to contain over 185 species and three subspecies that have been spotted in the tropics, precisely from Africa to Australia. More so, some species are prevalent in the New World.
As per their preferred habitat, you’ll commonly sight the Myrmarachne on rock surfaces, on leaves, and across vegetations. You may also spot them around human settlements as they like to roam around in search of food.
Like most jumping spiders, the Myrmarachne is an agile hunter with a brilliant vision that comes alive when hunting. While other spiders will use their webs for hunting, Myrmarachne relies heavily on their jumping skills for hunting.
Thanks to their excellent vision, Myrmarachne can spot their prey from some distance away, wait patiently and pounce on them once they get close. While they will typically feed on small insects like ants, mosquitoes, flies, butterflies, aphids, and more, they aren’t scared of confronting much larger prey like crickets. And when they aren’t stalking or hunting their prey, their excellent jumping skills help them evade predators and perceived dangers.
What is their temperament?
Because our leaper friends look fierce and daring, you may freak out, especially if you’re encountering them for the first time. But guess what, like other jumping spiders, the Myrmarachne doesn’t act aggressively towards humans.
Yes, they are vicious towards prey, but they mostly shy away when they come across humans. Given their calm and collected nature, many exotic pet lovers won’t mind adding the Myrmarachne to their collections.
Is it dangerous or venomous to humans?
Without mincing words, the Myrmarachne is a venomous jumping spider. As a matter of fact, its venom is potent enough to incapacitate prey. That said, it rarely bites and only does so when it feels threatened or handled roughly.
Frequently asked questions: Learn more about the Myrmarachne.
How dangerous is the Myrmarachne?
While these jumping spider species are aggressive and vicious toward prey, they are calm and collected when they spot humans. And unless they feel threatened by you, they generally maintain their cool.
Where can you find them?
Given their widespread distribution, you may find our leaper friends in almost any country. But because they look ant-like, you may mistake them for ants.
Can I raise them in captivity?
Because they thrive very well in any environment they find themselves in, you can raise the Myrmarachne in captivity without any qualms. And so long you feed them correctly, you’ll not run into any issues.