|Jumping Spider - Tutelina sp.|
Family Salticidae - Jumping Spiders. Also commonly called daring jumping spider.
Live adult spiders photographed in the wild at Winfield Illinois, USA. Size: <5mm
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Genus Tutelina: Dendryphantines characterized by unusual chelicerae with a very stout fang and a keel along the medial margin. Typically uniform colored, from gray or green to black, though T. harti is often mottled. Some species have a prominent V-shaped tuft of black hairs above anterior eye row.
Some species, especially T. formicaria, are reasonably antlike. Probably all specialize on eating ants. I rarely encounter any other jumping spiders that show any interest in attacking ants. I suppose there's not much meat there, and there is the possibility the ant under attack unleashes a pheromone storm that attracts more of their type, bent on destruction in defense of a nestmate.
One day, I came across Tutelina elegans mating (above and below). The male was on top of the upside-down female, and he was busy inserting sperm with his pedipalps. Well, along comes an ant, and that ant was pissed off. It started pulling on the male spider's rear leg - and pulled until the male spider disengaged from the female - whereupon the ant attacked the female spider and both spiders fled, disappearing almost instantly! I guess it could be said there is an evolutionary advantage to the ants running a Tutelina contraception program!
Planned Parenthood: Ants interfere with mating spiders
Class Arachnida / Order Araneae: Spiders are the largest group of arachnids. They are easily recognized by their eight legs, and there are few creatures great or small that elicit such irrational fear in mankind. The vast majority of spiders are completely harmless and offer beneficial services, chief of which is keeping the burgeoning insect population in check. I am continually amazed at the resourcefulness of these supremely successful predators.
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