Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Jumping spiders do not make webs; instead they actively hunt their prey by creeping up and then jumping on them, disabling them with their jaws (5). They are equipped with excellent eyesight, and probably have the most developed eyes of any arthropod. Four of the eight eyes are large and forward-facing giving it stereoscopic vision; the other eyes are arranged so that the spider can see completely around its own body (3). If you slowly wave a finger at a zebra spider it is likely to turn so that it has a good view. They leave a line of silk behind them in case they should lose their footing (3). In males, a pair of leg-like appendages called the pedipalps (or simply 'palps') are used to transfer sperm to females during copulation. During courtship, a male has to be very careful when approaching the female, or she may react aggressively or even mistake him for a prey species. He signals to the female with his front legs before mating. If successful, he transfers his sperm to the female's reproductive organ (the epigyne) (3).
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Description

The zebra spider is one of the most familiar of the British jumping spiders, and is often found on sunny house walls (2). As the name suggests, this small and attractive spider is black with stripes of shining white hairs (2). Males can be distinguished from females as they have a set of huge chelicerae that are used in battles with other males (3).
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Distribution

Zebra spiders have a Holarctic distribution. They are native to Europe, where they are found throughout the continent, but are also found throughout North America north of Mexico to southern Canada, where it is believed that they are an introduced species. This species has also been recorded across Russia, with additional records from Afghanistan, Greenland, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Nigeria and Argentina.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Introduced ); palearctic (Native ); neotropical (Introduced )

Other Geographic Terms: holarctic

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Range

This species is widespread and common throughout Britain (2). It is also widespread throughout Europe, northern Asia and North America (4).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Zebras spiders are small, ranging from 4-7 mm in size. Females are larger than males and usually range from 4-6.5 mm while males range from 4-5.5 mm. They have 3-4 white stripes on their abdomens; those at the base of the abdomen are complete, while those in the middle are narrow or broken. The abdomen is longer and narrower than the cephalothorax. Males have a more elaborate striping pattern on their legs. In males, the chelicerae are larger than in females and extend almost horizontally.

These spiders have eight eyes arranged in three rows, with two pairs of eyes in the front row and one pair in each of the other rows. The main AME (anterior median eyes), which are located in the center of the first row of eyes, are extremely large and are used for binocular vision. The ALE (anterior lateral eyes) are smaller than the AME and are located in the first row of eyes. This is a characteristic of spiders in the family Salticidae. The eyes in the second row provide vision in the forward direction while the final row of eyes allow the spider to look upward.

These spiders are covered in hair. They have cushions of hair called scopulae on their legs and feet. The scopulae located on the bottom of their feet are particularly dense and are the only part of the spiders' body that touches the substrate. These hairs increase the surface area of the feet and work by adhesive forces, which allows jumping spiders to stick to smooth, vertical substrates.

Range length: 4.0 to 7.0 mm.

Average length: 4.0-6.5 mm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry ; venomous

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger; sexes colored or patterned differently; sexes shaped differently

  • Ubick, D., P. Paquin, P. Cushing, V. Roth. 2005. Spiders of North America : an identification manual. United States: American Arachnological Society.
  • Weber, L. 2003. Spiders of the North Woods. Duluth, MN: Kollath-Stensaas Pub..
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Ecology

Habitat

Zebra spiders are a terrestrial, urban species of spider. These spiders are commonly seen on vertical surfaces such as walls, fences, window panes. They also live in forests, meadows, and gardens.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest

Other Habitat Features: urban ; suburban

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Found on and around walls of buildings, fences, window frames and on tree trunks (2) (1).
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Trophic Strategy

Zebra spiders are active predators that feed primarily on insects, and can catch prey that is much larger than their body size. Their primary prey are dipterans, which includes mosquitos and flies. They do, however, also prey on small spiders, and will even eat members of their own species. When cannibalism occurs, the smaller spider is always the victim. Zebra spiders use their excellent vision to locate their prey.

Animal Foods: insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Associations

Zebra spiders are predators that feed on a variety of organisms. They primarily feed on flies and mosquitos, but have also been known to eat butterflies and moths, ants, wasps, and bees, cicadas, and spiders.

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Spider wasps and mantises are known predators of zebra spiders. Zebra spiders have neutral coloration which helps them blend into their environment. They are heavily reliant on their eyesight to escape predators.

Known Predators:

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Zebra spiders have very large, well-developed frontal eyes. Unlike those of most spiders, which can only perceive motion, the eyes of jumping spiders can form detailed images. They have well-developed retinas that move independently of each other, and large lenses. Visual stimuli are used in hunting, courtship rituals, and to escape from predators.

Vibrations and chemical stimuli are also used in hunting and communications. While hunting, salticids can recognize their prey based on the vibrations the animal creates when it lands on the substrate. Prey items such as flies produce high frequency vibrations compared to background noise. Spiders can also perceive their environment through senses of smell and taste. Tasting occurs when a spider's contact chemoreceptors, located on the legs and palps, come into contact with a substance of a high concentration, while volatile substances can be sensed by olfaction in smaller concentrations. Females release sex pheromones to attract males.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; vibrations

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; vibrations ; chemical

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Life Cycle

Spiders develop in an egg sac that is usually hidden under a rock. Development consists of an embryonic period, a larval period, a nympho-imaginal period, and adulthood. The embryonic period begins when the egg is fertilized. In the larval stage, the spider survives on yolk from the egg and still lacks any distinguishable morphological features. The nympho-imaginal period follows the larval period. "Nymph" refers to the juvenile spider, while "imago" refers to the adult. During this phase, the spider develops functioning organ systems and hatches. Molting occurs between each of these development stages. In salticid spiders, juveniles undergo 5-11 instars before becoming an adult.

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Life Expectancy

Little information is available regarding the longevity of zebra spiders in the wild, but most spiders living in temperate regions live for one to two years. In captivity, the life expectancy of zebra spiders is two to three years, with females generally living longer than males.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
1 to 2 years.

Typical lifespan

Status: captivity:
2 to 3 years.

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Reproduction

All salticid spiders have courtship rituals in which the male performs for the female. This is a visual ritual relying heavily on eyesight. Males use the stripped markings on their legs to attract a female. A male spider will dance in a zigzag pattern moving his pedipalps, front legs, and abdomen. During the dance, the female watches the male. If the female accepts the male, she crouches down, thereby signaling that the male may approach her. While still facing the female, the male climbs on top of her, and she orients her abdomen so that he can insert sperm into her genital opening.

Mating System: monogamous

Zebra spiders breed in spring and early summer. Specific information about number of offspring and time from egg deposition to independence is currently unavailable, as is information regarding time to sexual maturity. It is likely that, as with most temperate spider species, females reach maturity at some point in their first year of life, with males maturing somewhat earlier.

Breeding interval: Zebra spiders breed once yearly

Breeding season: Spring and early summer

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Salticid species keep their eggs in a cocoon spun from silk. The mother closely guards the eggs until they hatch. Female zebra spiders guard their young until after the young have had their second molt. The young spiderlings then disperse and must care for themselves.

Parental Investment: precocial ; female parental care ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Protecting: Female)

  • BBC. 2008. "Zebra Spider" (On-line). Science and Nature: Animals. Accessed March 22, 2012 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/350.shtml.
  • Foelix, R. 2011. Biology of Spiders. New York: Oxford Press.
  • Milne, L., M. Milne. 1980. The National Audubon Society field guide to North American insects and spiders. New York: Random House.
  • Ubick, D., P. Paquin, P. Cushing, V. Roth. 2005. Spiders of North America : an identification manual. United States: American Arachnological Society.
  • Weber, L. 2003. Spiders of the North Woods. Duluth, MN: Kollath-Stensaas Pub..
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Salticus scenicus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 6 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

AATCATAAAGATATTGGGACTTTATATTTAATTTTTGGAGCTTGATCGGCTATAGTAGGAACGGCAATAAGAGTTTTGATTCGAATAGAATTAGGACAGACAGGTAGATTTTTAGGAAATGATCATATATATAATGTAATTGTGACGGCACATGCTTTTGTTATAATTTTTTTTATAGTGATACCAATTTTAATTGGTGGTTTTGGAAATTGGTTGGTTCCGTTGATGTTAGGGGCCCCTGATATAGCTTTTCCTCGAATAAATAATTTGAGTTTTTGATTATTACCGCCTTCTTTATTTTTGTTATTTATTTCGTCTTTGGCAGAAATAGGAGTAGGAGCAGGTTGAACGGTGTATCCTCCATTAGCATCAATTGTTGGTCATAATGGAAGATCTGTGGATTTTGCTATTTTTTCTTTACATTTAGCTGGTGCTTCTTCAATTATGGGAGCTATTAATTTTATTTCTACAGTTATTAATATACGGTCTGTAGGGATATCAATGGATAAGGTTCCTTTATTTGTATGGTCGGTTGTAATTACTGCTGTTCTTTTATTATTATCTTTGCCTGTATCAGCAGGTGCTTGGACTNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Salticus scenicus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 8
Specimens with Barcodes: 25
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

This species has not been evaluated by the IUCN red list and has no special conservation status.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

  • IUCN 2012, 2012. "The IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species" (On-line). Accessed January 21, 2013 at www.iucnredlist.org.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Status

not threatened (2)
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Threats

This spider is not threatened.
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Management

Conservation

Conservation action is not required for this common species.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Zebra spiders, like most spiders, produce a venom from glands located inside the chelicerae. However, this species is very small and a bite is unlikely to cause injury to a human, or even be able to pierce their skin.

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Zebra spiders primarily feed on flies and mosquitoes. These organisms are human pests and disease vectors. Predation by zebra spiders can help to keep populations of these pests in check.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Wikipedia

Zebra spider

The zebra spider (Salticus scenicus) is a common jumping spider of the Northern Hemisphere. Like other jumping spiders, it doesn't build a web. It uses its four pairs of large eyes to locate prey and its jumping ability to pounce and capture it. Zebra spiders are often noted for their awareness of humans. Upon noticing someone observing them, they can be seen raising their head, and usually change behavior (hence the name Salticus scenicus, theatrical jumper).

Description[edit]

Female zebra spiders are 5–9 millimetres (0.20–0.35 in) long and males are 5–6 mm (0.20–0.24 in).[1] The most distinctive feature of these spiders is their two very large eyes, which is typical for jumping spiders. Although they have eight eyes, the two at the front are the largest and give them excellent binocular vision. These tiny spiders are black with white hairs that form stripes.[1]

Distribution[edit]

Zebra spiders are widespread across Britain, Europe, and North America,[1] and are found throughout the Holarctic. They often live close to or in human settlements. They can be found on walls, plants and fences on sunny days; and also indoors on window sills, often in the corner behind curtains.

Behavior[edit]

S. scenicus eating Sitticus pubescens

Diet[edit]

Zebra spiders tend to hunt insects or spiders of roughly their own size or smaller. They have been observed feeding on mosquitos that are almost twice their length. They have also been observed taking on prey items up to 3 times the length of the spider, such as some of the smaller species of moth. Like other jumping spiders, these spiders use their large front eyes to locate and stalk their prey. They move slowly towards their prey until they are close enough to pounce on top of their victim, and their hunting behaviour has been described as cat-like. Using their acute eyesight, they are able to accurately judge the distances they need to jump.

Hunting[edit]

They orient towards prey detected by its lateral eyes whenever the angle subtended by such prey exceeds 5.5°. The velocity of the prey is not involved in the determination of reactive distance, but only moving objects elicit orientation. The probability that orientation is followed by stalking is a function of both prey size and velocity. The zebra spider's stalk velocity declines progressively as it nears its (stationary) prey.[2]

Before jumping, they glue a silk thread to the surface that they are jumping from so that if they miss the target, they can climb up the thread and try again - However, they may 'abseil' with a silk thread if they wish to descend from a height safely, for instance they have been documented 'abseiling' from ceilings. They ignore unappetising insects such as ants.

There are no extensor muscles at the 'hinge joints' of the spider leg, instead joints extension is due to the haemocoelic blood pressure in the leg. The most significant evidence that this extension is due to hydraulic forces is that the leg spines become erect during the jump, a result of increased body pressure which can be demonstrated on many spiders. The zebra spider's jump is almost entirely due to the sudden straightening of the fourth pair of legs. The mean jumping velocity is estimated to be between 0.64–0.79 m/s (2.1–2.6 ft/s).[3]

Reproduction[edit]

When these spiders meet, the male carries out a courtship dance involving waving his front legs and moving his abdomen up and down. The better the dance the more likely the female will want to mate, with success guaranteed if the male can exhibit a perfect shuffle.[citation needed] Females will stay with their egg sacs and will guard the young after they hatch. After the spiderlings have had their second moult they will leave the mother and fend for themselves.

Taxonomic history[edit]

Salticus scenicus was one of the spiders included in Carl Alexander Clerck's 1757 work Svenska Spindlar / Aranei Suecici, the starting point for spider names in zoological nomenclature.[4] Clerck originally called the species Araneus scenicus, and Carl Linnaeus, in the 1758 edition of Systema Naturae named it Aranea scenica; the specific epithet scenicus means "actor".[5] Since then a number of synonyms have been published:[4]

  • Araneus scenicus
  • Aranea scenica
  • Aranea albo-fasciata
  • Aranea fulvata
  • Attus scenicus
  • Attus candefactus
  • Epiblemum faustum
  • Attus scenicoides
  • Calliethera histrionica
  • Calliethera scenica
  • Calliethera aulica
  • Salticus albovittatus
  • Attus histrionicus
  • Callithera alpina
  • Callietherus histrionicus
  • Epiblemum histrionicum
  • Salticus histrionicus
  • Epiblemum scenicum
  • Calliethera goberti
  • Calliethera albovittata

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Zebra spider (Salticus scenicus)". ARKive. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ Lawrence M. Dill (1975). "Predatory behavior of the zebra spider, Salticus scenicus (Araneae: Salticidae)". Canadian Journal of Zoology 53 (9): 1284–1289. doi:10.1139/z75-153. 
  3. ^ D. A. Parry & R. H. J. Brown (1959). "The jumping mechanism of salticid spiders" (PDF). Journal of Experimental Biology 36 (4): 654–664. 
  4. ^ a b Norman I. Platnick (June 7, 2010). "Salticidae". The World Spider Catalog, Version 11.0. American Museum of Natural History. 
  5. ^ Nick Loven. "Salticus scenicus". Nick's Spiders of Britain and Europe. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
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