ABOUT THIS ISSUE
Published by Emporia State University
Prepared and Issued by The Division of Biological Sciences
Editor: JOHN RICHARD SCHROCK
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Cover photo: No. 39. Phidippus cardinalis [female].
Hank Guarisco, P.O. Box 3171, Lawrence Kansas 66046 is a free-lance biologist and research associate of the Kansas Biological Survey who has studied the natural history of Kansas spiders for over 25 years.
Bruce Cutler, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Haworth Hall, University of Kansas, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7534 is the director of the Microscopy and Electronic Imaging Lab and a courtesy professor in EEB.
Kenneth E. Kinman, 2010 Patio Drive, Hays, Kansas 67601.
We thank the Kansas Biological Survey for providing research equipment, the University of Kansas Department of Entomology for providing laboratory space, the K.U. Herbarium for the use of a microscope and camera, and Henry S. Fitch of the University of Kansas for critically reviewing the manuscript.
Jumping spiders include some of the most fascinating, colorful hunting spiders which are easily recognized by their large eyes, especially the anterior median eyes (AME) (No. 59). Vision plays a predominant role in both hunting and courtship behavior. The males, which are often festooned with brightly colored patches of hairs and scales, perform elaborate courtship displays. These displays are some of the best examples of visual communication in invertebrates. While the smaller secondary eyes detect movement, the large AME enable jumping spiders to see shapes and perceive both depth and color. Recent behavior studies have shown that the common 3-spotted jumping spider (Phidippus audax) is able to associate food with red or green dots in T-maze choice tests.
Worldwide, there are approximately 3,500 species of jumping spiders which are placed in the family Salticidae. Every year, new species are discovered, mainly from remote regions of the globe. The 70 species of salticids that live in Kansas range from minute (a fraction of an inch) cryptic species, such as Talavera minuta and Euophrys diminuta, which inhabiting leaf litter, to the large (2+ cm or 1 inch), conspicuous members of the genus Phidippus. This common spider family can be found almost everywhere: in forests, prairies, fields, houses, and mountains. Its members have even been collected thousands of feet above ground and in the sails of ships hundreds of miles out to sea.
Jumping spiders are so ubiquitous because they and other spiders, such as the Linyphiidae, employ a very unique method of travel called, "ballooning." When certain weather conditions exist, these spiders climb to high places, such as the top of trees, elevate their bodies and release silk from their spinnerets. As the wind continues to pull silk from these organs, the length of the silk strand continues to increase. Eventually, it becomes large enough to act as a parasail. The spider releases its hold on the tree branch, and it is carried away by the wind. Sooner or later, the spider and its silk parasail land, and the process is repeated. Ballooning behavior enables some spiders to colonize remote locations, such as islands.
General references concerning spider biology include: (13), (19), (24), (25), and (32).
Kansas jumping spiders have admirably adapted their life cycle to the seasons. Mating, reproduction and growth occur predominantly during the spring, summer, and fall. Although feeding has been observed during all seasons, including on mild winter days, jumping spiders become dormant and spend their time in dense, silk retreats during cold winter weather. As cold weather approaches, physiological changes occur in spiders which allow most of them to withstand freezing temperatures. Various sorts of antifreeze compounds are produced and their blood becomes thicker, and therefore, less likely to freeze. Selecting a good location to pass the winter is also very crucial to a salticid's survival. The leaf litter can provide a good winter retreat, especially when blanketed with a layer of snow. At a study site in Douglas County, the 3-spotted jumping spider (P. audax) had a significantly higher winter survival rate on a south-facing slope than on an adjacent north-facing slope. Winter survival may also vary dramatically from year to year and among different species of jumping spiders within the same year.
Salticids and other spiders become more active during the warmer spring weather. Some species, such as P. audax, reach maturity and mate during this season. The males usually mature one or two weeks before the females. During this time, each male seeks out an immature female and guards her. In the field, it is common to find the resting sac of a male next to one containing an almost mature female. When she matures, this male will mate with her. As the eggs develop within her body, the female feeds voraciously. During late spring and early summer, she lays a mass of eggs (sometimes numbering well over 100) in an eggsac within her silk resting chamber. She then guards her eggs from predators and parasites until the young spiderlings emerge about one month later. During the summer months, she may produce as many as six or more eggsacs, each consecutive sac usually containing fewer numbers of eggs. Therefore, by autumn, the populations of spring-maturing salticids consist mostly of juveniles of various sizes and ages. Spiderlings from the same eggsac grow at very different rates, depending upon their food intake.
Some species, such as the Apache jumping spider (P. apacheanus), mature in autumn. In Kansas, this species mates in September, the males die several weeks later, and only the impregnated females overwinter. Populations of Platycryptus undatus, a salticid commonly found under tree bark, consist of juveniles and adults of both sexes throughout the year.
ANNOTATED LIST OF KANSAS JUMPING SPIDERS (SALTICIDAE)
Currently, the Kansas jumping spider fauna consists of 70 species belonging to 31 genera. This list includes only those species and localities represented by a preserved specimen examined by one of the authors or found in the most recent taxonomic revision. Each entry consists of: the currently recognized scientific name of each salticid species followed by its author, a common synonym, the counties of KS where examined specimens have originated, and taxonomic references. Those genera in quotation marks indicate that the species which follow them probably belong in different genera, but their ultimate placement awaits further taxonomic work. Much more field work is needed to determine the range of spider species within Kansas. Very few spiders currently have common names. One notable exception is the "zebra spider" (Salticus scenicus).
A key is not provided because positive identification, even to genus, is determined by detailed microscopic examination of the genitalia. Because jumping spiders are very colorful, careful examination of the color slides in this publication should enable the reader to identify most species. Pay particular attention to body shape, leg length, color and patterns. Males and females of the same species often differ dramatically in appearance. Furthermore, the males of Maevia inclemens have two forms which look so radically different from each other that they were originally considered two distinct species (No. 21a,b). Also be aware that coloration, especially in the females, may be very variable in some species. Examine the two color extremes of the very common jumper, Pelegrina galathea (No. 32a,b). Sometimes color variation is related to background matching, i.e. specimens from the Red Hills are often reddish in color. The taxonomic references following each species provide complete descriptions and distinguishing characteristics. Also of value are spider catalogues (3, 35, 36, 37), checklists (5, 8, 11, 12, 22, 27, 42, 44, 45), and works which provide detailed keys (25, 33, 43). All photos were taken by Hank Guarisco.
|missing image - phidippus apacheanus female|
KANSAS JUMPING SPIDERS (SALTICIDAE)
SALTICID SPIDER BITE
Jumping spiders, like most spiders, have venom glands and occasionally bit people in self defense. Most jumping spiders are small and are generally incapable of inflicting bites because their fangs don't penetrate the skin. However, the bites of several members of the genus Phidippus, which are large and sometimes aggressive, have caused mild to moderate local tissue damage. While collecting spiders near Clinton Lake in Douglas County, Kansas, the first author (HG) was bitten on the thumb by an adult 3-spotted jumping spider (P. audax). The sharp pain caused by fang puncture was followed by local redness and swelling of the bitten area. The region involved was limited to the last digit of the thumb and all symptoms were gone in one or two days. Others have reported more extensive swelling and the development of a small black lesion which healed in several weeks following a bite (21).
Some jumping spiders look like ants. Since predators commonly avoid animals which have good defenses, such as heavy armor, noxious scent glands, or effective biting and stinging organs, "mimics" which lack such defenses but resemble these organisms often escape predation by confusing a potential predator. Several kinds of jumping spiders may gain protection by resembling ants in shape, coloration, and movements. Synemosyna formica, and species of Peckhamia and Synageles are especially good ant mimics.
The large black and orangePhidippus apacheanus superficially resembles the large, wingless females of mutillid wasps (9). Both are found in barren, open areas and are active during the day. These wasps can inflict a very painful sting, and a predator that has survived such a an encounter would probably avoid creatures which resemble them.
Another interesting example of mimicry involves the defensive wing pattern and behavior of Rhagoletis zephyria Snow, a tephritid fruit fly. When viewed from the rear, the fly looks like a jumping spider! The wings are held vertically and the dark bands on the wings mimic spider legs! This wing pattern inhibits predation by jumping spiders, which are usually major fly predators. In laboratory experiments in which the dark wing bands were obliterated or where unbanded house fly (Musca domestica) wings were substituted for the banded wings, the flies were readily attacked by jumping spiders (31).
ENEMIES: PREDATORS AND PARASITES
Jumping spiders have a wide range of predators and parasites. Mammals, birds, lizards, and spiders (including jumping spiders) all occasionally consume salticids. Hunting wasps, such as the muddaubers (Scleiphron and Chalybion), organ-pipe muddaubers (Trypoxylon), and spider wasps (Pompilidae) sometimes prey heavily upon jumping spiders. During June, several muddauber cells on an open porch ceiling in Baldwin City contained 2 juvenile Phidippus putnami, 2 male Tutelina elegans, and a female Tutelina harti. The female wasp stings a spider, then carries the paralyzed prey back to her previously constructed mud cell. When the cell has been fully provisioned with spiders, she lays an egg in the cell, then seals it with mud. As it grows, the developing wasp larva consumes the paralyzed spiders.
Spiders sometimes harbor both internal and external parasites. Occasionally, a jumping spider which has been recently collected will die in captivity. Examination of its cage will sometimes reveal the presence of a very long, thin mermithid nematode worm or acrocerid fly larva that has emerged from the body of its spider host. These internal parasites feed on their hosts, which often die before the parasites emerge to complete their development.
The mantisfly or Mantispidae is another interesting spider specialist. The young, mobile mantisfly larvae actively seek spider hosts after they emerge from eggs laid on vegetation. They board the spider then move to a safe spot, such as the narrow juncture (pedicel) between the two main body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen). Once in this location, they puncture the skin (cuticle) and feed on the spider's blood in much the same manner as ticks feed upon mammals, bird, and reptiles. To complete its development, however, the mantisfly larva is on a male spider, it will leave the male and board the a female during mating. As the female produces her eggsac, the mantisfly larva crawls down her body and enters the sac. During the next several days or weeks, the parasite consumes the eggs, grows, pupates, and finally emerges from the eggsac. Therefore, mantispids are both spider ectoparasites and spider eggsac parasites.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF JUMPING SPIDERS IN THE LAB
Some of the larger species of salticids, especially members of the genus Phidippus, can be easily maintained in the laboratory or classroom. They make ideal subjects for behavioral studies including feeding, courtship, learning and agonistic behaviors (24). Jumping spiders are generally active during the day, although several species have been observed hunting insects in the vicinity of porch lights at night. A common species found throughout Kansas (P. audax) quickly learned to avoid distasteful prey, such as the milkweed bug (Oncopeltis fasciatus).
Since they are highly predaceous, each spider must be maintained in a separate container. Petri dishes of various sizes make ideal enclosures since they are easily cleaned, provide adequate air circulation and easy viewing, and don't require a lot of space. Maintaining the proper humidity and discouraging the growth of mold are the two most important aspects of captive care. Proper humidity needed for successful molting and drinking water (spiders do actively drink) may be easily provided by putting a small piece of wet sponge in the container. Be sure to use only sponges that have not been impregnated with soap or detergent. Do not use paper towels, since they will become moldy in one or two days.
During warm weather, a variety of insect prey may be obtained by using a sweep net in open fields and prairies. Although a spider may occasionally feed upon a recently dead insect, live prey should be provided every few days. Laboratory colonies of fruit flies, small mealworms, and meal moths are ideal food items, especially during the winter months. Uneaten prey items should be removed within an hour after introduction, or sooner if the spider actively avoids its intended prey. Prey remains should be removed within a day to avoid the growth of mold. Small jumping spiders and newly hatched spiderlings will often refuse to feed in the laboratory, and are often more difficult to maintain.
To maintain proper sanitation, clean petri dishes should be provided after one or two weeks. Petri dishes which contain mold should be changed immediately. They may be washed with water or water and a standard disinfectant, such as bleach. Be sure to thoroughly rinse petri dishes before use. Jumping spiders can be maintained at ordinary room temperature. Although in the wild they are often active in sunny places on very hot days, do not keep petri dishes near windows with direct sunlight since spiders are likely to overheat and die.
Spiders grow by periodically shedding their hard exoskeletons. Once adulthood is reached, most spiders, including salticids, no longer molt. A spider usually refuses to feed a few days before molting and remains inside its thickly woven, resting sac. After shedding the old skin, at least one day is required to sufficiently harden the new cuticle before normal activity may be resumed.
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