Arachnophilia

Yesterday as I was entering the house, I saw a decent sized jumping spider (the largest I’ve seen yet) peeking out from behind our mailbox. Because of its size, I thought it might be a female (about 1.5 cm long). I called Mack to come over and look at it, but it became shy at all of the attention and retreated behind the mailbox, so we left it alone. I went outside a bit later to see if it was still there, but it was nowhere to be found. Shortly afterwards, Mack found it crawling around in our front foyer, so apparently it had snuck in or followed me into the house.

I first learned about jumping spiders when I began looking into macro photography. Jumping spiders have appealing proportions (chunky body parts, large eyes, furry). They hunt by stalking their prey instead of ensnaring their victims in a web. Depending on the prey, they will use different hunting strategies and they are considered unusually intelligent (a study from 2016 demonstrated that they formulate plans). Recently, some researchers trained a jumping spider named Kim to jump on cue to study its jumping capabilities.

This morning I googled jumping spiders to try and identify the guest in our house. Based on coloration and markings, it may be a male bold jumping spider. One fact that I learned about jumping spiders is that males (who are smaller) will employ a mating dance to signal to a female that they are not prey. These displays can be quite elaborate and mesmerizing. If you’re afraid of spiders, check out the following video. These little critters just might charm you.