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. As their name suggests they have the ability to 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)

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.

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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 body-length of around 5mm, occasionally larger. 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.


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

3mm male Common Sun-Jumper   (Heliophanus cf flavipes)

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.

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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 

Mile End Jumping Spider   (Macaroeris nidicolens)

This Mediterranean Jumping Spider has been recorded at several sites in the SE of England. This one was photographed in my garden in SE London in April 2019. Previously found on Pine Trees, Gorse, Privet and Hawthorn. This spider has a maximum body-length of around 5 - 7mm for females and 4 - 6mm for males. 

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4mm immature female Macaroeris nidicolens 

Female Macaroeris nidicolens 

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.

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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.

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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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