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Tan Jumping Spider

Tan Jumping Spider

Platycryptus undatus

Status: Not Listed

Classification: Invertebrate

Description

Tan jumping spiders are tiny, furry arachnids with enormous front-facing eyes that make them seem almost mammal-like in appearance. The rest of their eight eyes wrap around their heads, giving them almost 360-degree vision. Their hairy bodies are varying shades of brown, which helps them to blend in with their surroundings.

Range

Tan jumping spiders are found in the eastern United States. The spiders are commonly found on vertical surfaces like tree trunks, fence posts, and even the walls of people's homes. 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. 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 leaping for a speedy getaway.

Diet

Jumping spiders use their keen vision to spot insects and spiders to eat. Once they’ve locked onto a target, they pounce on it and start consuming their meal.

Life History

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.

Conservation

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.

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.

Sources

Missouri Department of Conservation

Tree of Life Web Project

University of Kentucky Entomology

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