Tan Jumping Spider

 

Scientific Name: Platycryptus undatus

Tree Trunk Spider

Description: Tan jumping spiders are tiny and furred, and they have a set of enormous front-facing eyes that make them seem almost mammal-like in appearance. Their bodies are varying shades of brown, which helps them to blend in with their surroundings.

Diet: Jumping spiders use their keen vision to spot insects and spiders for their next meal. Once they’ve locked onto a target, they pounce at it and begin the feast.

Predation: Jumping spiders and their eggs are eaten by a variety of predators including birds, reptiles, mammals, and wasps. They don’t have many defense mechanisms, but these capable jumpers may try for a speedy getaway.

Habitat: Tan jumping spiders are commonly found on vertical surfaces like tree trunks, fence posts, and even walls inside your home! When they do wander into human dwellings, they’re generally harmless and only try to bite when they’re handled roughly. More commonly, they live on and under the peeling bark of shagbark hickories.

U.S. Range: Tan jumping spiders are found in the eastern United States.

Life History and Reproduction: Because jumping spiders have excellent vision, they’re able to communicate with each other through movement. Male jumping spiders court females by waving their limbs and tapping on the ground. Females lay their eggs in silk cocoons under tree bark to protect them from predators and the elements.

Fun Fact: Tan jumping spiders usually have a wavy color pattern on the upper part of their abdomen. This undulating pattern is why they received the “undatus” part of their scientific name.

Conservation Status: Tan jumping spiders are an understudied species, and not much is known about their conservation status. Like all spiders, they are important to protect because they help to control insect populations.

Sources:

Missouri Department of Conservation
Tree of Life Web Project
University of Kentucky Entomology

 

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