Jumping Spiders are Miniature Ninjas

What these spiders lack in size, they make up for in jaw-dropping feats of agility and surprises.

I spotted this spider on the roof of my car right before I left for a friend’s wedding. This kind of spider is one of the most interesting to watch, and this one was no disappointment.

Several times as I was trying to get a closer shot, the spider jumped 3 or 4 inches (about ten times its body length) onto the camera… and this is how it prepares for that kind of attack. Notice that the four rear legs are standing ground while the front four are poised and aimed at me; the body fairly swivels between the front and rear legs, which is amazing to watch.

Of course, these spiders know when to retreat also. If you tap your finger near them, they will hop away from you. If you do that on a vertical surface, they will, with incredible speed, attach their web and rappel a few inches.

This is the last picture I took before I drove 200 miles. Amazingly,when I was leaving the wedding the next day, the spider was still on the car. I can’t say I’m surprised that it was able to find a gap in the body to hide in — rust holes notwithstanding — but I am certainly impressed that it chose to hang on for the ride.

In this picture, it’s cleaning its eyes with its jaws. This shot was a moment too late to really capture it.

Spiders usually have eight eyes… you can see them here.

If I was small enough, I’d ride on its back like a horse.