Monday, October 20, 2008

My Friend is Back!

I have named him Lazarus. I looked it up after I named him, and I guess he's the guy Jesus rose from the dead, like my spidey came back from the hiddenness. So, here is a picture. It is as big as it would get, my camera is very tired.

I think he's a Zebra Spider. Here is a better picture from Wikipedia, albeit, a little bit scary. Um, he is a LOT smaller than this photograph. 5-7 mm long, according to Wiki.

Apparently, Lazarus will eat mosquitoes up to TWO TIMES his size (whoa!), which is great, because mosquitoes here are tiny. I haven't gotten any bites in a while, maybe it is because of my friend. We are a good team, him and I, me drawing in the mosquitoes with my tasty blood, and him eating them up so they never actually get to the blood. If he was a little bit bigger, we could go after vampires.

I'm copying the Wiki description. I don't think they really care, since it's technically public material... I think... whatever, I disclaim ownership:

The zebra spider (Salticus scenicus) is a common household jumping spider. Like other jumping spiders, it does not build a web. It uses its four pairs of large eyes to locate prey and its jumping ability to pounce and capture it. Zebra spiders are often noted for their 'curiosity' when observed by humans; many seem aware of their audience and seem to respond to observation by raising their heads and studying the observer.

Physical Description

Female zebra spiders are 5-7mm long and males are 5-6mm. The most distinctive feature of these spiders is their two very large eyes. Although they have eight eyes, the two at the front are the largest and give them excellent binocular vision. These tiny spiders are black with white hairs that form stripes.


Zebra spiders are widespread across Britain and Europe and are found throughout the world. They often live close to or in human settlements.

They can be found on walls, plants and fences on sunny days; and also indoors on window sills, often in the corner behind curtains.

Zebra spiders tend to hunt insects or spiders of roughly their own size or smaller. They have been observed feeding on mosquitoes that are almost twice their length.

These spiders use their large front eyes to locate and stalk their prey. They move slowly towards their prey until they are close enough to pounce on top of their victim, and their hunting behaviour has been described as cat-like. Using their acute eyesight, they are able to accurately judge the distances they need to jump. Before jumping they glue a silk thread to the surface that they are jumping from so that if miss the target they can climb up the thread and try again. They ignore unappetising insects such as ants.

When these spiders meet, the male carries out a courtship dance involving waving his front legs and moving his abdomen up and down. The better the dance the more likely the female will want to mate, although arachnologists have yet to discover what it is the female looks for in a mating dance. Despite their good eyesight, males will sometimes accidentally perform a mating dance in front of another male. When this happens the two males usually fight.
Females will stay with their egg sacs and will guard the young after they hatch. After the spiderlings have had their second moult they will leave the mother to fend for themselves.
[edit]Conservation status

Zebra spiders are not protected by law in the UK.

They SHOULD be protected by law! Hey, Lazzie, leave my cereal alone! Seriously, he's all over my food. I guess there aren't enough mosquitoes to go around...


Anonymous said...

Even if the spider is rather useful (eating bugs up to two times its size), they're still ICKY!!!!

Cap'n Mandy said...

I am shocked, shocked and dismayed. Poor little spiders >.< They aren't even slick with spit or nothing! The big ones, ok, are scary insofar as if they bite you, it'll be huge and owchie. But, this one's a little mister...