There are jumping spiders, and there is the ant-like jumping spider popularly called the Synageles. And for those who have no idea, the Synagelese is a genus of jumping spider that Eugene Simon first described in 1876.
Like many of the jumping spiders we have come across; the Synegeles has so much going for it in terms of physical description. And because they look very much like ants, you can sometimes mistake our leaper friends for ants.
Even though our leaper friends are widely spread, they occur mainly in Palearctic regions and Canada. Also, they seem to be widespread across North Africa. Outside North Africa, our spider friends have been described as the most common ant-like jumping spiders in Europe.
If you’re curious about the Synageles jumping spider and you want to learn more about our ant-like friends, you’re welcome to read further as today’s post has everything you’re looking for and more.
What is their scientific name?
Most jumping spiders have a common name they are referred to, and in the case of our spider friend, it isn’t any different. While our leaper friends are commonly called ant-like jumping spiders because of how they look, scientifically, they are called the Synageles venator.
Even though the Synageles is sometimes referred to as the ant-like jumping spider, it isn’t the only jumping spider with this attribute. And just so you know, the Synegeles jumping spider is quite similar to the Leptorchestes berolinensis. The only difference between them is that the Synegeles jumping spider has a white line on the back of its head.
Read further to learn about our leaper friends’ physical description and size.
Physical description and size
If you haven’t spotted an ant-like jumping spider before and you’re interested in getting a vivid description of what they look like, here is your opportunity to learn about the physical description of the Synegeles spider, an ant-like jumping spider with many things going for it in terms of physical description.
Although the Synegeles spider is a small-sized spider, females of this jumping spider species are slightly bigger than their male counterparts. While females measure between 4 mm, males come in slightly smaller. Plus, they are very similar to the Leptorchestes berolinensis, only that they have a white line just at the back of their heads.
Adult males of this species have an elongated cephalothorax together with long chelicerae, which projects forward. Their cephalothorax and opisthosoma both have a waist. Plus, their colours can sometimes differ, depending on the ant they are mimicking.
Like ants, our leaper friends like to wave their front legs in the air to simulate it like an antenna. Overall, the Synegeles jumping spider has a body that closely resembles ants, little wonder why they are mostly mistaken for ants.
Effect of mimicry
Our leaper friends are quite indistinguishable from ants and even to humans observing them rather closely. To start with, they move very fast, just like ants, and even wave their second pair of legs to wiggle just like an ant’s antennae.
While they like to feed on ants now and then, the effect of the formic acids from ants means our leaper friends will eventually refrain from eating ants.
Where are they from?
The Synageles jumping spider has a wide distribution and occurs mainly in Palearctic regions like Canada. Outside Canada, our furry friends have been sighted in North Africa and in Europe, where they have been tagged the most common ant-like jumping spiders occurring in this region.
In England, for instance, the Synegeles were mostly confined to the coast of southern England and South Wales.
Habitat and ecology
The Synageles jumping spider occurs in sand dunes, especially among low-down marram and amid tussocky vegetations. Most recently, our spider friends have been spotted in two old brick-pits.
On several occasions, the Synageles jumping spider has been bitten from scrubs while also been spotted on gate posts and rail fencing. Because our leaper friends tend to mimic ants, they are sometimes found among ants and may sometimes even feed on these insects when they are hungry.
Diet and food
Our leaper friends are excellent hunters with brilliant eyesight that lets them stalk their prey and pounce on them. While they will readily feast on small insects like flies, ants, crickets, aphids, and more in the wild, they aren’t scared of taking on prey twice their size.
Although their excellent jumping skills allow them to evade predators quickly, they also move as fast as ants. This also makes it easy to track prey and escape threats without any hassle. When bred in captivity, our leaper friends can no longer hunt, so you have to provide feeder insects, so they don’t starve.
What is their temperament?
Most jumping spiders may look threatening, but guess what? Our leaper friends aren’t judged by their fiery looks. Unlike other spiders, the Synageles jumping spider is super friendly and harmless towards humans.
While they will react viciously towards prey and predators alike, their first instinct is to get away when they encounter humans. Because of their calm and collected demeanour, many spider enthusiasts will enjoy keeping our leaper friends as pets.
Is it dangerous or venomous to humans?
Spiders are venomous creatures with devastating bites that can incapacitate their prey. But guess what, their venom isn’t harmful to humans. While they are vicious hunters who don’t spare their prey, they are generally harmless towards humans. And except you’re allergic to spider bites, a bite from the Synageles will not cause you any harm.
Frequently asked questions
Do they use webs for hunting?
Jumping spiders such as the Synageles do not use webs for hunting. Instead, they rely on their excellent vision to spot prey and pounce on them with their extraordinary jumping skills.
How big do they get?
The Synageles jumping spider doesn’t get very big and measures relatively smaller than most jumping spiders we have come across. While females of this species come in at 4mm, males are slightly smaller.
Can you easily identify them?
Because they look very similar to ants, it’s super tricky to identify our leaper friends. To distinguish them from ants, you have to pay keen attention to their physical features.