Spiders continue to be a mysterious and creepy group of arachnids. Most people are scared of these creatures, yet most of the time they are very harmless. Zebra spiders, a common type of jumping spider, are often feared because their jumping is seen as aggressive. However, these are simply spiders with the ability to jump. Here is information on zebra jumping spiders that will help you to identify this type of spider.
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Zebra jumping spiders are very small. Females are 5-7 mm, and males are 5-6 mm long. They are furry, with a black and white striped pattern on their abdomens. Jumping spiders belong to a different group within spiders, and are thought to have the best eyesight out of all arthropods. They have to very large eyes in the front, surrounded by three smaller eyes on each side (see pictures below). They are able to focus and swivel their eyes and judge distances.
Zebra spiders are found in most parts of the world, and are likely to be spotted in sunny areas, like on the sides of houses or in gardens often near human-inhabited areas. These spiders are able to jump in all directions, allowing them to pounce on prey and avoid predators. They sneak up on their prey, pouncing much like a cat. They anchor themselves to a surface before pouncing so they are able to return to that spot if they miss and try again, and usually hunt prey that is their size or slightly larger. They have been known to eat mosquitoes, which are two times the length of the spiders. Because of their great eyesight, they engage in more sight-based activities, like the intricate mating dance the males perform for females.
Zebra spiders are not harmful to humans. Because of their jumping behavior (they jump more than they walk,) they are often perceived as aggressive. However, this is their normal behavior, and they will not bite unless threatened or provoked. If bitten, most people will only experience mild irritation. Everyone will react differently to a spider bite, but this spider’s venom is not known to be dangerous and only mild irritation is expected.
Here are a few pictures of Zebra Jumping Spiders: