Friendly Neighborhood (Jumping Spider, Platycryptus undatus)

jumping spider on creased skin of a finger
This jumping spider (Platycryptus undatus) didn’t complain about the rough terrain, or recommend any hand lotions.

Jumping spiders, like dogs, cannot be oversaturated or overhyped. They’re just that good. There are of course, let’s call them skeptics, on both sides of the love line, but with spiders, those persons tend to constitute an ugly majority. Ugly, yes, but I get it: people are scared and whatever else of spiders, and I’ve heard it may even be a primitive legacy, but I also know what it’s like to be terrified of little things (and occasionally a bee or wasp will still raise my long-buried fear alarm), and I know it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s hard at first, but then you realize insects and spiders are everywhere. For me it started with freeing a paper wasp trapped in the window of my room. I’ve been stung two or three times photographing bugs, and it was almost funny. (Also, the horse fly bite I got one time was probably worse.)

I wish I knew a better way to encourage people to live with our world’s small custodians. I do know when you can put that fear and revulsion aside and experience the wonder of a jumper wandering over your hand as though it had landed on a strange, squishy-terrained moon, that it is a great thing. They are among us and have been; they are not pests, they eat the pests. Sure, you don’t want black widows proliferating in the home, but most spiders are helpful tenants. They clean up the environment and, occasionally, provide a little entertainment at the cost of a few cobwebs. Just look into those spidey dog eyes and tell me you can’t let them stay a while.

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5 thoughts on “Friendly Neighborhood (Jumping Spider, Platycryptus undatus)

  1. Nice post and photo. Depending on the insect and circumstances I’m always going to have an attitude ranging from benign indifference, to that’s cool, to I’ll stay away from you if you’ll stay away from me. Now, if I lived in Australia with their 1,000 species of killer spiders I’d add “OMG get me outta here” to my possible attitudes/reactions.

    1. Thanks, Noellie! Looks like you had a majestic subject. I’ve only photographed a regal jumping spider (a female, as it happened to be) once, but it was impressive, if not cooperative. Spiders are great indeed. :)

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