The spider family Salticidae (jumping spiders) includes 5678 described species placed in 597 genera (Platnick 2014), far more known species than in any other spider family; at least 315 species are known from North America north of Mexico (Richman and Cutler 1978; Richman et al. 2005). Although Mexico in reality likely has far more species than the United States and Canada, the fauna is far less well studied and fewer than 300 species are known from Mexico (Richman and Cutler 1988; Metzner 2013).
Salticids are generally easy to recognize as such, but Richman et al. (2005) note that they can bear some resemblance to corinnids, oxyopids, and thomisids. Salticids are highly variable in color, including brown, gray, and black, often with patterns of brilliant scales of red, yellow, or metallic or iridescent green, blue, copper, gold, or silver. The general body shape ranges from longer than wide (strikingly so in ant-like species) to as wide as long (in some beetle-like species). The face is relatively flat. The salticid eye pattern is distinctive. The posterior median eyes are small and sometimes difficult to see on the side of the head; the anterior lateral eyes and the posterior lateral eyes, which face sideways or backward, are larger, and the forward-facing anterior median eyes are huge. The posterior eye row is so curved it may appear to be two distinct rows. The chelicerae of salticids range from small to long and can be very stout, projecting, and heavily toothed (especially in males). The spinnerets are short and sometimes not obvious; the anterior (front) and posterior (rear) spinnerets are about the same length. (Richman et al. 2005; Bradley 2013)
Salticids are found in abundance on every continent except Antarctica and occur in a broad range of microhabitats from beneath leaf litter to the forest canopy. The highest diversity of salticids is in the tropics. Some salticids have established populations outside their native range, e.g., Menemerus semilimbatus, a Mediterranean species established in Argentina and California (Manolis and Carmichael 2010 and references therein). Cutler (1990) compiled information on synanthropic salticids in the northeastern United States, some of which are introduced from other continents.
Apparent mimicry (e.g., of ants or beetles or mutillid wasps [Edwards 1984]) and crypsis (e.g., resemblance to tree bark, grass, or stones) is common among salticids in both body form and color patterns and often in behavior. Some salticids are gaudily colored and others have evolved decorations on various body parts. Males are especially ornate and their decorations are often involved in complex courtship behavior. Some species (e.g., some Phidippus and many, if not all, Habronattus) have stridulatory mechanisms for communication that are often used in courtship.
Maternal care of eggs and newly hatched spiderlings appears to be the general rule for salticids. Most salticids lay their eggs in a distinct egg sac, although some (e.g., Lyssomanes) simply cover their eggs with a thin sheet of silk.
From a human observer's perspective, salticid behavior does not seem like that of most other spiders; these spiders seem almost vertebrate-like as they turn to look at us and even follow our movements. Salticids are mainly diurnal, colorful, and active in open areas where they are easily observed. Some species exhibit complex and flexible behavior that they use in hunting prey. Richman and Jackson (1992) reviewed the behavior of salticids.
Most salticid species are probably univoltine (i.e., there is just a single generation per year), with adults present during just a few months of the year, as in Phiddipus johnsoni and Lyssomanes viridis. The number of instars in these species apparently varies from 5 to 11 (Jackson 1978; Richman and Whitcomb 1981).
The complex taxonomic history of the North American salticid fauna was reviewed by Richman et al. (2005). Richman (1978) wrote the first complete key to North American salticid genera north of Mexico after Peckham and Peckham (1909) and Richman and Cutler (1978) published a list of the salticid species then known from the region. Cutler (1979, 1982), Edwards (1980), and Richman (1979, 1980) published corrections to the key and list. Richman et al. (2005) includes numerous citations for generic revisions, species descriptions, and taxonomic and systematic studies of the Nearctic salticid fauna prior to 2005. Edwards and Wolff (1995) published a list of Caribbean salticids. Richman et al. (2012) published an updated list of salticids known from North America, including Mexico, together with maps showing known distributions for each (this paper includes additional citations for significant taxonomic literature and distribution information). Hill and Richman (2009) addressed the evolutionary origins of the salticids. Hill and Edwards (2013) reviewed evidence on the origins of North American salticid lineages. Bodner and Maddison (2012) investigated the historical biogeography of salticid radiations on a global scale. There is an extensive literature on the behavior, ecology, and taxonomy and systematics of salticids from many regions of the world. Much of this information is accessible through several excellent websites. Wayne Maddison has provided a wealth of online information about the Salticidae (Maddison 2011). Heiko Metzner (2013) and Jerzy Prószyński (2013) maintain extraordinarily rich online resources on the salticids of the world.
(Richman et al. 2005; Bradley 2013)
- Bodner, M.R. and W.P. Maddison. The biogeography and age of salticid spider radiations (Araneae: Salticidae). 2012. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 65: 213–240.
- Bradley, R.A. 2013. Common Spiders of North America. University of California Press, Berkeley.
- Cutler, B. 1979. Jumping spiders of the United States and Canada: changes in the key and list (2). Peckhamia 1(6): 125.
- Cutler, B. 1982. Jumping spiders of the United States and Canada: Additions to the key and list (5). Peckhamia 2(3): 37.
- Cutler, B. 1990. Synanthropic Salticidae of the Northeast United States. Peckhamia 2(6): 91-92.
- Edwards, G.B. 1980. Jumping spiders of the United States and Canada: changes in the key and list (4). Peckhamia 2(1): 11-14.
- Edwards, G.B. 1984. Mimicry of velvet ants (Hymenoptera: Mutillidae) by jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae). Peckhamia 2(4): 46-49.
- Edwards, G. B., and R. J. Wolff. 1995. A list of the jumping spiders (Salticidae) of the islands of the Caribbean region. Peckhamia 3(2): 27-60.
- Hill, D. E. and G. B. Edwards. 2013. Origins of the North American jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae). Peckhamia 107(1): 1-67.
- Hill, D. E., and D. B. Richman. 2009. The evolution of jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae): a review. Peckhamia 75.1: 1-7.
- Jackson, R.R. 1978. Life history of Phiddipus johnsoni (Araneae, Salticidae). Journal of Arachnology 6: 1-29.
- Maddison, W. 2011. Salticidae. Jumping Spiders. Version 12 October 2011 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Salticidae/2677/2011.10.12 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/
- Maddison, W. and M. Hedin. 2003. Phylogeny of Habronattus jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae), with consideration of genital and courtship evolution. Systematic Entomology 28: 1-21.
- Manolis, T. and J.H.P. Carmichael. 2010. Discovery of a Mediterranean salticid, Menemerus semilimbatus (Hahn 1827) introduced and established in California, U.S.A. Pan-Pacific Entomologist, 86(4):131-134.
- Metzner, H. 2013. Jumping Spiders of the World database. Available online at: http://www.jumping-spiders.com.
- Peckham, G. W. and E. G. Peckham. 1909. Revision of the Attidae of North America. Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, Vol. XVI, Part 1, No. 5: 355-646.
- Platnick, N. I. 2014. The world spider catalog, version 14.5. American Museum of Natural History, online at http://research.amnh.org/entomology/spiders/catalog/index.html
- Prószyński, J. 2013. Monograph of Salticidae (Araneae) of the World. 1995―2013. Available online at: http://www.peckhamia.com/salticidae/
- Richman, D.B. 1978. Key to the jumping spider genera (Salticidae) genera of North America. Peckhamia 1(5): 77-81.
- Richman, D. B. 1979. Jumping spiders of the United States and Canada: changes in the key and list (1). Peckhamia 1(6): 125.
- Richman, D. B. 1980. Jumping spiders of the United States and Canada: changes in the key and list (3). Peckhamia 2(1): 11.
- Richman, D. B. and B. Cutler. 1978. A list of the jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae) of the United States and Canada. Peckhamia 1: 82-110.
- Richman, D. B., and B. Cutler. 1988. A list of the jumping spiders of Mexico. Peckhamia 2(5): 63-88.
- Richman, D.B and R.R. Jackson. 1992. A review of the ethology of jumping spiders (Araneae, Salticidae). Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society 9: 33-37.
- Richman, D.B. and W.H. Whitcomb. 1981. The ontogeny of Lyssomanes viridis (Walckenaer) (Araneae: Salticidae) on Magnolia grandiflora L. Psyche 88: 127-133.
- Richman, D. B., B. Cutler and D. E. Hill. 2012. Salticidae of North America, including Mexico. Peckhamia 95.2: 1-88.
- Richman, D.B., G.B. Edwards, and B. Cutler. 2005. Salticidae. Pp. 205-216 in D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing, and V. Roth (eds.) Spiders of North America: an Identification Manual. American Arachnological Society.
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