24 October 2013

Just how big is salticid?

The question du Jour is "Just how big is a salticid?" and to answer that we will require some background info first.  Salticids come in a  wide variety of sizes, however, modern salticids are very small compared to many other spiders.  Why these size constraints exist has never been examined to the best of my knowledge, though I would suspect it's due to a combination of phylogenetic inertia (i.e. they've always been small) and the fact that most of them feed on very small prey items, making a larger size impractical from a foraging perspective.  Just think, if salticids were the size of small dogs like dachshunds, who would be on the menu then...

Can I come over for dinner?

In reality, most adult salticids fall between 1mm and 22mm in length, with most being less than 10mm in my experience. However, as you can see below, juveniles can be significantly smaller.

A juvenile salticid sitting on the head of an American penny.

On the other end of the scale is this giant male, who is identified by the videographer as Hyllus diardi, though I cannot confirm this.  The bad news is that he is a living nightmare for those of you who are even slightly arachnophobic.  The good news?  He seems very friendly! If you'd like to see the original video, it and a few others can be found on youtube here.

Having now seen the full breadth of salticid size, I will leave you with these two beautiful photos of some lovely little spiders.

Not the smallest, but by no means a giant either. And yes, those are pollen grains you're seeing next to it. Also, my apologies to the original photographer, but I seemed to have lost the attribution information...

Its so TEENY!

Happy Spidering!