Known for their cute, furry appearance, jumping spiders get their name from their ability to leap from place to place. Being that they’re insects, jumping spiders may be attracted to plants inside and outside your home. It can feel natural to be afraid of these little jumpers, particularly if they’re getting close to your succulents. But, they may actually be there to protect your succulents from unwanted pests.
What are Jumping Spiders?
Jumping spiders are tiny arachnids that fall into the family Salticidae. Varying in sizes, patterns, and colors, their unique personalities extend to their preference of prey and habitat. They are carnivorous, and typically hunt for smaller insects and even other spiders. Some notable variations are known to hunt larger prey like lizards and frogs.
As their name suggests, they are known for jumping, whether to hunt prey down or when fleeing a predator. Besides jumping, they are also well known for their vision, capable of seeing ultraviolet light and recognizing patterns better than even elephants can. These are just some of their extensive abilities.
What Do They Look Like?
More than 6,380 species of jumping spiders have been identified, so they have a wide range of appearances. They are usually small, with the largest species being around 1 inch in length, and the average jumping spider measuring around 0.5 inches or less. Colors are not standard either, with a huge assortment of patterns being associated with jumping spiders.
Their eyes are the one trait that the diverse species of jumping spiders have in common. Part of the reason for their incredible eyesight is their four pairs of eyes, with one pair being large and front-facing. Other than that, many jumping spiders will also share a fuzzy appearance.
What Can They Do?
Their nickname is a solid giveaway, but jumping spiders are known for their jumping ability. While the spiders themselves are small, their jumping ability is not, and they have even been found to leap as far as 50 body lengths away!
This jumping ability is important because they don’t hunt prey like you might expect spiders too, instead they identify their prey and pounce with their jumping abilities. When they catch their prey, they paralyze them with venom and then eat them.
While jumping spiders do not typically create elaborate webs with their silk, they still do find a use for it. They can spin silk to make a barrier from rain and predators. These spiders also frequently use their web as a tether when they leap just in case they miss.
Should I Be Cautious?
While these spiders are venomous, they are not able to affect you with a large enough dose to harm you. They will typically try to avoid humans and other predators and will only bite if cornered or otherwise in harm’s way.
You may be generally nervous around spiders when you see them, but in terms of fearing for your safety, these shouldn’t cause you any harm. If by chance you get bitten by one, many bites are asymptomatic or appear like a small mosquito bite.
Are They Friendly to Humans and Pets?
Friendly might be too strong of a word, but they should certainly not cause you any trouble. They aren’t interested in messing with creatures that could pose harm to them, so they should generally stay out of the way of you and your family.
In the case of an accidental run-in, as we mentioned before, they are not capable of putting out venom in a high enough dose to harm you or even your pets. So, jumping spiders are generally not considered a threat to you and your pets.
Are They Good for Succulents?
While these jumping spiders are not a threat to humans, there may be concern that they are harmful to succulents. Contrarily, not only are these spiders nonthreatening to succulents, they are beneficial to them!
Since jumping spiders are carnivorous, they are not interested in making a meal of your plants. However, they are interested in feeding on the other unwanted critters that may find their way onto your succulents. Aphids, spider mites, and fungal gnats are all fair game for a jumping spider’s lunch, and without proper pest control, these insects will eat your succulent’s roots and leaves, causing severe damage to the plant.
When hosting jumping spiders on your succulents, you may see some stray webs from time to time, but otherwise, these spiders should not pose any risk to your succulents’ well-being. For the especially eco-friendly plant parent, they’re a welcome addition to any garden.
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