AN ODE TO SALTICIDS

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One of the highlights of this year’s Christmas viewing has been this gorgeous little video by Snake Buddies, featuring Jürgen Otto’s incredible footage of peacock spiders – anyone who isn’t acquainted with his work should immediately follow this link to his YouTube channel. While I don’t have anything remotely as impressive, I agree that salticids (aka jumping spiders) are unquestionably the world’s cutest and most charismatic arachnids- I’m not sure if it’s the forward facing eyes, or their habit of hiding under a leaf when they see you, or their furry little pedipalps, but there’s something about them that makes people’s intense dislike of spiders instantly soften upon seeing them.

These were all taken at one of my field sites Ecuador, at most 20m from my room. One of the highlights was finding a huge female, around 1.5cm long, with gorgeous yellow, white and black patterning on her back. She sat on my hand for a while before attaching a dragline and jumping off. There are plenty of salticids in the UK too, and next year I’m hoping to find a few closer to home. Top of my 2017 Christmas list will also be the forthcoming field guide to Britain’s spiders, so I might even be able to identify them 😍. For now, I’ll be concentrating on reading as much as I can of my beautiful new bee guide before they emerge in spring.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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