Jumping Spiders

There are nearly 40 species of Jumping Spider in the UK. Jumping Spiders are small and stocky in build with short legs and are recognised by their square-fronted carapaces and large forward-facing eyes. Jumping Spiders do not build webs to catch their prey. As their name suggests they have the ability to jump and launch themselves through the air at great speed. They can use this ability to 'jump' to catch prey or evade predators. Most Jumping Spider species in the UK are diurnal and prefer dry sunny locations. They can often be readily identified by their short jerky movements when walking. 


Female Zebra Jumping Spider   (Salticus scenicus)

Zebra Jumping Spider   (Salticus scenicus)

The Zebra Jumping Spider is a common jumping spider found across the UK, often in urban and suburban areas. They can also been found on heathland and farmland sites too. They are often seen sunning themselves on walls, rocks, tree-trunks or fences. Jumping Spiders do not make webs. Instead they jump onto their prey with great accuracy and quickly inflict a lethal venomous bite to their unsuspecting victims. They are reported to jump up to 10cm, but I have observed one jumping almost twice that distance in a downward direction landing directly on a fly which was killed instantly with an immediate bite. 

Jumping Spiders have four pairs of eyes, two of which are front facing. One pair of the front facing eyes are extremely large. These huge front-facing eyes are used for gathering a detailed image enabling the spider to identify potential prey and judging distance when jumping onto their prey. Before the spider jumps it attaches a web line which it can use to enable it to return to the same spot again. Zebra Jumping Spiders are small with a maximum body-length of 5-7mm. They are stocky in build with short, thick legs. If you approach a Zebra Jumping Spider, it will often lift its head and follow your movements closely with its big eyes.   British Arachnological Society Factsheet


Female Zebra Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus) with lunch, found in my kitchen in May.






Male Zebra Jumping Spider   (Salticus scenicus)

Males can be distinguished from females by the possession of huge jaws which they use for wrestling with each other to compete for mating rights to a female.






Male Zebra Jumping Spider  (Salticus scenicus) found on my garden shed in SE London 6/5/2019







Female Zebra Jumping Spider  (Salticus scenicus) - wandering around a Privet Bush in my garden.







Female Zebra Jumping Spider   (Salticus scenicus)








A very large 11mm Fencepost Jumping Spider (Marpissa muscosa) found on a fencepost at the edge of ancient oak woodland in Kent, 21st May 2020

Fencepost Jumping Spider   (Marpissa muscosa)
The Fencepost Jumping Spider is a nationally scarce species and is one of Britain's largest Jumping Spiders. Males usually grow to 6-8mm and females 8-10mm. At some sites it's not unusual for specimens to exceed these sizes and females have even been recorded at 13mm! The specimen photographed above was well outside of the usual range for a male at 11mm. Fencepost Jumping Spiders are found across much of Europe but have a scattered distribution in the UK. They are most frequently encountered in the SE of England. This species is fairly easy to distinguish from other Jumping Spiders in the UK by their size and their long, slender and flat abdomens. Their typical habitat includes fallen branches, under loose bark of old trees, stone walls, rocks, logs and as their name suggests wooden fenceposts and fences. This species often builds a silky retreat behind loose bark on very old or dead trees. These "nests" can often be found in groups with many specimens choosing to build their hideaway next to another specimen. It has been observed that, as with other species of Marpissa spider, the Fencepost Spider demonstrates a social hierarchy with weaker animals acknowledging their inferiority to larger specimens by strutting their front legs and slowly retreating from the scene.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3    LINK 4


A very large 12mm Fencepost Jumping Spider (Marpissa muscosa) found on a fencepost ajacent to ancient oak woodland in Kent, 22nd May 2020







A 12mm female Fencepost Jumping Spider (Marpissa muscosa) with beautiful blue eyes and an 11mm male with very impressive pedipalps

Both the male and female Marpissa muscosa look fairly similar from above, with the male being darker. However when viewed from the front the differences are very obvious. Both sexes are very hairy, especially their front legs. The male has very enlarged pedipalps whilst the female's pedipalps are covered in very long white hairs.






12mm Female Fencepost Jumping Spider (Marpissa muscosa)

After finding the large male Fencepost Jumping Spider (Marpissa muscosa) on 21st May2020 I decided to go back to the same ancient woodland site in Kent and search for a female.
After searching fenceposts and loose bark on trees for about an hour in vain we decided to take a walk along a large open grassland space adjacent to the woods. Searching fenceposts as we went I soon spotted my first female Fencepost Jumping Spider (Marpissa muscosa). It was a small 4mm female. I took a couple of rushed 'in-situ' shots before it disappeared into a crack in the fencepost. 5 minutes further up the walkway and I found exactly what I was after, a huge 12mm female specimen! Not wanting to risk this one escaping I quickly caught it in a pot and began setting up my white background and lights for some close-up shots.
This is definitely the most beautiful spider I have photographed in the UK. The eyes are stunning! I took photos from all angles before placing the spider on a stone step for some more natural looking shots. The spider had been very well behaved until now. But the wind was picking up and this spider decided it was time to make an escape. Wow, these things can really move! I've never experienced a Jumping Spider that can move at such a pace. It would take 4 or 5 huge 20+cm jumps in quick succession, and I very nearly lost it. It didn't take long before I had my shots and I was ready to quickly return it to exactly the same spot where it was found.


11mm Male Fencepost Jumping Spider (Marpissa muscosa)









Adult female 5mm Downy Jumper   (Sittipub / Sitticus pubescens)

Downy Jumper   (Sittipub / Sitticus pubescens)

Another widespread and common jumping spider found across England, usually in residential areas around human habitation. They have an average body-length of 4-6mm. Adult females can be found throughout the year but adult males are found from March to October. Both sexes peak around May to June. In areas away from humans this species can on occasion be found on tree trunks and rocks. Inside of houses it is usually the Cellar Spider / Daddy-Long-Legs Spider (Pholcus phalangioides) that is the top of its food-chain feeding on other insects as well as other spiders. But the Downy Jumper has been observed and photographed killing and feeding on Cellar Spiders. The capability of making a surprise jumping attack from a distance gives the Jumping Spider a great advantage over this known spider-hunter.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3    LINK 4    LINK 5



Adult female 6mm Downy Jumper - (Sittipub / Sitticus pubescensfound on my garden shed at 11pm in May.







4mm male Downy Jumper - (Sitticus pubescensfound on my garden fence in May.








Female Common Sun-Jumper   (Heliophanus cf flavipes)

Common Sun-Jumper   (Heliophanus flavipes)

A small Jumping Spider with a typical body-length of around 5mm, and sometimes up to 7mm. The palps and legs are a lemon-yellow colour contrasting against the dark body. This species is usually found on shrubs and other low / medium height vegetation or low branches of trees, with a preference to sunny spots. There are 4 species of Sun Jumper found in the UK, but telling Heliophanus sp. apart is very difficult.

LINK 1


Heavily gravid 7mm female Common Sun-Jumper   (Heliophanus cf flavipes)







4mm female Common Sun-Jumper (Heliophanus cf flavipes) photographed in my garden in SE London 10th April 2020

As the late afternoon sun moved round to the west of the house, and the shadow cast by the garden fence began to send the hydrangea bush into darkness, the tiny Sun Jumper inched towards the edge of the leaves to soak up the last of the sun's rays.





5mm female Common Sun-Jumper (Heliophanus cf flavipes) photographed in my garden in SE London 2nd May 2020








5mm female Common Sun-Jumper (Heliophanus cf flavipes) photographed in my garden in SE London 10th April 2020







3mm male Common Sun-Jumper (Heliophanus cf flavipes) found on a flowerpot in my garden in SE London, 26th May 2019.







3mm male Common Sun-Jumper (Heliophanus cf flavipes) that wandered into my kitchen in SE London, 19th April 2020.







3mm male Common Sun-Jumper (Heliophanus cf flavipes) on my garden shed in SE London 12th April 2020








3mm male Oak Jumper (Ballus chalybeius) found in my garden in SE London / North Kent

Oak Jumper   (Ballus chalybeius)

A small Jumping Spider with a maximum body-length of around 4.5 - 5.5mm for females and 3 - 4mm for males. The body is usually dark brown and fairly flat, and the legs are light brown / orange. Light brown specimens do also occur. Found mostly in the SE of England but scattered sightings are recorded across England and Wales. Favours woodland habitat especially Oak. It spins a silky retreat on the upper side of bushes and small trees.

LINK 1     LINK 2


4mm female Oak Jumper (Ballus chalybeius) found on a wetlands site in SE London / North Kent







3mm adult male Oak Jumper (Ballus chalybeius) photographed on my thumb to give a sense of scale.








7mm female Macaroeris nidicolens found in my garden 19th April 2019

Mile End Jumping Spider   (Macaroeris nidicolens)

This Mediterranean Jumping Spider is fairly new to the UK and was first recorded back in 2002 at Mile End Park, Tower Hamlets in East London, hence the common name of Mile End Jumping Spider, and occasionally referred to as the Tower Hamlets Jumping Spider. It was first recorded in Essex at Thurrock in 2006. By 2019 it had been recorded at various sites in the SE of England including one record from Greenwich and a couple from Dartford. This adult female specimen was photographed in my garden in Bexleyheath, Kent / SE London in April 2019. They've also been found on Pine Trees, Gorse, Privet and Hawthorn at other locations in the SE. There is no doubt that the Mile End Jumping Spider is spreading and as of 2020 this species has been recorded at 15 sites around London and one on the South Coast. This spider has a typical body-length of around 5 - 7mm for females and 4 - 6mm for males. 

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3    LINK 4


4mm immature female Macaroeris nidicolens 








4mm adult male Mile End Jumping Spider (Macaroeris nidicolens) found on the back of my work van in SE London, 1st June 2020.


Unlike many species of spider the male Mile End Jumping Spider doesn't have obviously distinguishable pedipalps from the female without close examination. Males are considerably smaller with darker legs and abdomen, and a dark brown face and pedipalps. There are often two white patches at the rear of the head.





Female Macaroeris nidicolens in my garden in SE London 19th April 2019







One of two female Macaroeris nidicolens found in my garden in SE London on the leaves of a Privet Bush 2 metres above the ground, April 19th 2020.

This sub-adult female specimen had a body-length of around 6mm.





One of two female Macaroeris nidicolens found in my garden in SE London on the leaves of a Privet Bush 2 metres above the ground, April 19th 2020.







One of two female Macaroeris nidicolens found in my garden in SE London on the leaves of a Privet Bush 2 metres above the ground, April 19th 2020.







4mm female Macaroeris nidicolens found in my garden in SE London on the top of a Privet Bush 2.5 metres above the ground, April 26th 2020.








3mm sub-adult female Fleecy Jumper (Pseudeuophrys lanigera) found on my bedroom ceiling.
Fleecy Jumper / House Jumping Spider  -  (Pseudeuophrys lanigera / Euophrys lanigera
Pseudeuophrys lanigera or the Fleecy Jumper as it is sometimes known, is a very small species of Jumping Spider with a maximum body-length of 3-4mm for males and 3-5mm for females. They are often found on the tops of sunny high walls and roofs of buildings. They also often turn up inside buildings on ceilings, especially once the weather gets colder. This species can be found all year round indoors and is scarce in the north of the UK but becomes more common in the south.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3    LINK 4


4mm adult female Fleecy Jumper (Pseudeuophrys lanigera) found on the outside wall of a house in Kent in May.







3mm male Fleecy Jumper (Pseudeuophrys lanigera) found on my bedroom wall in SE London / North Kent in September







3mm female Fleecy Jumper   (Pseudeuophrys lanigera 

 This Fleecy Jumper has class. It was found living under the rear light of my Porsche Cayman S, and photographed "in-situ" as is wandered along my car's rear bumper.





3mm adult female Ant-Mimic Jumping Spider (Synageles venator) found on a UPVC front door in SE London / North Kent, May 2019.

Ant-Mimic Jumping Spider  -  (Synageles venator
Synageles venator is a tiny species of Jumping Spider that mimics the appearance of an ant. This mimicry allows the spider to get close to its prey without them suspecting an ambush. The Ant-Mimic Jumping Spider grows to a maximum body-length of around 4mm for females. Males have an indentation on their abdomen that gives the impression that the spider consists of three body segments instead of the usual two that spiders have. This helps pull off the imitation of an insect rather than a spider. They also have a white band on their abdomen that further exaggerates this indentation and makes the 'three body segment' illusion more convincing. This female specimen was probably gravid and therefore had a swollen abdomen and lost this indention usually indicative of this species.

This species is confined mainly to coastal sand dunes in England and Wales, and my sightings in Erith, Kent during May & September 2019 were the very first to ever be recorded in the London area. This species has only ever been found once before in Kent at Sandwich Bay. My female specimen was found in May 2019 on a UPVC front door of a house in a built-up residential housing area in SE London / North Kent. It is believed that these spiders probably arrived as accidental stowaways on imported plants.

LINK 1    LINK 2    LINK 3


3mm adult male Ant-Mimic Jumping Spider (Synageles venator) found on another UPVC front door in SE London / North Kent.

This second specimen was a male and was found about 500m from the first, wandering on the front of another home September 19th 2019. Whilst in my care it readily fed on a small fruit fly I offered it.

This spider was the most frustrating specimen that I have ever tried to photograph. It took me 4 hours of continuous shooting to capture these shots. I took around 1000 photos and these were the only ones that were sharp enough to use. Much like the Black Garden Ant, that this spider mimics, it never stays still for a moment, unless it cocoons itself in a silky tent. This species not only looks like an ant but moves around like one as well.






























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