There are jumping spiders, and there is the zebra jumping spider that measures between 5 to 7 mm, with relatively short legs. This jumping spider species earns its name from its unmistakable black and white stripes prominent on its hairy abdomen.
Unlike most spiders you’ll come across, the zebra jumping spider has unique characteristics and facts that intrigue spider lovers. Stay with us as we will take you through everything you need to know about the zebra jumping spider shortly.
What is the scientific name of zebra jumping spiders?
Scientifically called Salticus scenicus, the zebra jumping spider is a very common spider found in the Northern Hemisphere. Like most jumping spider species, the zebra jumping spider doesn’t build webs. Instead, it uses its large pair of eyes to stalk and take out its prey by pouncing on it.
The geographical range of the zebra jumping spider
According to experts, Zebra jumping spiders have a Holarctic distribution. While they are a native to Europe, they can also be found in North America, Mexico, and Southern Canada where they are an introduced species.
Besides, these leapers have also been spotted across Russia, Greenland, Argentina, Afghanistan, Iceland and Kazakhstan.
Zebra jumping spider habitat
Our leaper friends are predominantly a terrestrial, urban jumping spider species. No surprise why they are commonly found on vertical surfaces like fences, walls and window panes. Also, these species of spider live in meadows, forests and gardens.
From temperate to terrestrial habitats to savanna and grassland habitats, these group of spiders can thrive almost anywhere.
Physical description and size of the zebra jumping spider
Zebra jumping spiders are among the smallest species of spiders you’ll come across. And that’s because they measure around 4 to 7 mm in size. And just so you know, the females are a lot larger than the males. While the female ranges from 4 to 6.5 mm in length, their male counterparts range from 4.5 to 5 mm.
Away from their size, the zebra jumping spider is believed to sport 3-4 stripes of white on its abdomen. That said, the males feature a more elaborate stripe pattern on their legs. Plus, the males have a larger chelicera that extends almost horizontally.
Lifespan and longevity
At the moment, there is very little information regarding the lifespan of our spider friends in the wild. But from what we have come to learn so far, most zebra spiders in temperate regions can live for one to two years.
When bred in captivity, zebra jumping spiders have a life expectancy of two to three years. Plus, it is a known fact that the females generally live longer than their male counterparts.
Zebra jumping spider behavioural traits
The zebra jumping spider is a solitary and wandering species of spider. Unlike other species of spiders, you come across regularly; this one doesn’t build webs. That said, they have a small spinneret, which allows them to create a dragline sink when hunting prey. Although their silk is non-sticky, it acts as an anchor when hunting.
In terms of behaviour, male zebra jumping spiders often exhibit a form of aggressive and ritualized behaviour when they meet during courtship. When the males converge, they tend to raise and lower their front legs in what many have described a threatening manner.
At the end of the day, the male with the most aggressive behaviour tends to win the right to mate.
And when it comes to hunting, our leaper friends are agile hunters who stalk and hunt their prey with utmost precision. Thanks to their impressive jumping abilities, zebra jumping spiders don’t rely on their webs to hunt. In addition to their excellent jumping skills, their large eyes help them spot their prey easily.
Zebra jumping spider diet
Our furry friends are active predators who feed primarily on insects. Thanks to their superb hunting skills, our leaper friends can hunt prey that is much larger than them. Their primary prey includes mosquitoes, flies, roaches, crickets, mealworms etc. While they sometimes prey on small spiders, they are also known to feast on members of their species.
When cannibalism occurs among zebra jumping spiders, the small spider is most likely the victim.
Thanks to their incredible vision, jumping spiders can easily spot and take out their prey.
Although zebra spiders are predators themselves, they also fall prey to spider wasps and mantises. Little wonder why they sport a neutral colouration that helps them easily blend into their environment. To stay safe and evade predators, our spider friends rely on their excellent eyesight and precision jump to escape predators.
Is it dangerous or venomous to humans?
Like other species of jumping spiders, the zebra jumping spider isn’t so aggressive. Plus, it will not bite unless it feels threatened or it is handled roughly.
While this species of spider produces venoms potent enough to incapacitate their prey, their venom will not cause any harm to humans. And should you ever get bitten by a jumping spider, the most you’ll experience is redness and irritations that disappears after a few days.
Frequently asked questions
How long does zebra jumping spider live?
There are not a lot of information regarding the lifespan of zebra jumping spider. But from the little information available, it is believed that this jumping spider species can live for up to 2 to 3 years. Plus, females are known to live longer than their male counterparts.
How often do zebra spiders feed?
Zebra jumping spiders don’t eat a lot. So, if you’re breeding them in captivity, it’s okay to feed them once every 2 to 3 days. In the wild, these jumping spider species can hunt and fend for themselves.
How often do spiders molt?
Like most spiders, zebra jumping spiders molt every now and then.
Molting occurs once every month for young spiders, while for adult jumping spiders, molting occurs every year or two. During their entire lifespan, zebra jumping spiders are expected to molt up to eight times.
Although zebra spiders aren’t big in size, they are agile hunters who can take out prey twice their size, thanks to their impressive jumping skills. Their friendly nature has made them a must-have for exotic pet lovers. While they are venomous, they are safe to handle and don’t cause any harm to humans.