This week's Sunday Spider is Menemerus semilimbatus, a jumping spider I photographed on the lunar landscape that is the stucco on the sunny back wall of the house. Originally from the Mediterranean region, this spider has become naturalized in California, which has a similar climate, and in other warm, dry parts of the U.S. and South America as well.
Jumping spiders do not spin webs. They rely instead on their excellent eyesight to run down prey.
Hello, Bright Eyes.
This particular spider has a unique style for hunting flies. If the fly is facing away from the spider, M. semilimbatus approaches it directly. When the fly is facing the spider, M. semilimbatus keeps its distance and circles around it until the prey is facing away from the spider. Only then will the spider start to approach the fly directly. This differs from other jumping spiders which simply creep up to their prey directly regardless of which way it is facing, until close enough to pounce. But M. semilimbatus has adopted a specialized predatory behavior towards its prey. M. semilimbatus takes extra steps to ensure its stealth. M. semilimbatus is the master strategist of jumping spiders. And those big, googly eyes are so gosh darn cute too.