|Jumping Spider – Tutelina sp.|
Family Salticidae – Jumping Spiders
Live spiders photographed at Winfield, Illinois. 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 Tutelina formicaria, are reasonably antlike. Probably all specialize on eating ants. I rarely encounter any other jumping spiders that show any interest in attacking ants.
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
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