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8 superlative spiders

By: Matt Hickman on Oct. 2, 2013, 1:53 p.m.
bold jumping spider

Photo: Thomas Shahan/Flickr

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Most athletic

Bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax)

The jumping spider family (Salticidae) is a massive group composed of around 5,000 individual species of agile hunters that excel at leaping from branch to branch, tree to tree — or web to unsuspecting victim’s hair. And with their bulging (anterior median) eyes and curious expressions, some types of jumping spiders are — dare we say? — kind of cute. One of our favorites is the bold jumping spider, also known as the daring jumping spider, not only because it’s a fearless and super-athletic arachnid found throughout most of North America, but because of its most distinctive flair: bright, beaming eyes and iridescent green mouthparts set against a hairy black body with white stripes and spots. Bold jumping spiders are capable of leaping anywhere from 10 to 50 times their body length thanks to hind legs that function like springboards. Though they prefer to actively stalk their prey by foot, these arachnids weave webs strictly for egg-laying or hiding purposes.