This jumping spider was photographed on a rainy day on the top of my car. The background what you see is the pearl white finish paint of the Maruti Suzuki Swift car. Rain droplets as well as the spiders eye reflect the light source which was my ExpoImaging Ray Flash Adapter which was mounted on Canon Speedlite 580EX II. I was Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens on Canon EOS 5D mark II. Thanks to Javed Jameer Ahmed of Spider India group, I was able to identify this spider as Jumping Spider belonging to the family Salticidae, genus Phintella species. Possibly Phintella cf. coonooriensis, male. It was earlier identified mistakenly as Phintella versicolor Recent photographs from Dr. Atul Vartak from Maharashta, India http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/12149564. This spider shows an abdominal pattern that is reversed than P. versicolor. Phintella versicolor (C. L. Koch, 1846) is also described from China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Sumatra, Hawai’i. Without the comparing of the palpi and the genitalia, we can only make an educated guess as to the identity of your spider. Especially since there exist no color photographs of Phintella coonooriensis, whatsoever. What we can be sure of is that it is indeed a Phintella spp. 🙂
The jumping spider family (Salticidae) contains more than 500 described genera and about 5,000 described species, making it the largest family of spiders with about 13% of all species. Jumping spiders have good vision and use it for hunting and navigating. They are capable of jumping from place to place, secured by a silk tether. Both their book lungs and the tracheal system are well-developed, as they depend on both systems (bimodal breathing).
Jumping spiders live in a variety of habitats. Tropical forests harbor the most species, but they are also found in temperate forests, scrub lands, deserts, intertidal zones, and even mountains. Euophrys omnisuperstes is a species reported to have been collected at the highest elevation, on the slopes of Mount Everest.
Jumping spiders are generally recognized by their eye pattern. All jumping spiders have four pairs of eyes with very large anterior median eyes. All jumping spiders have their eyes arranged in three rows, except for the Lyssomaninae, which have four rows (one for each pair).
Jumping spiders are generally diurnal, active hunters. Their well-developed internal hydraulic system extends their limbs by altering the pressure of body fluid (hemolymph) within them. This enables the spiders to jump without having large muscular legs like a grasshopper. Most jumping spiders can jump several times the length of their body. When a jumping spider is moving from place to place, and especially just before it jumps, it tethers a filament of silk to whatever it is standing on. Should it fall for one reason or another, it climbs back up the silk tether.
Jumping spiders are scopula-bearing spiders, which means that they have a very interesting tarsal section. At the end of each leg they have hundreds of tiny hairs, which each then split into hundreds more tiny hairs, each tipped with an “end foot”. These thousands of tiny feet allow them to climb up and across virtually any terrain. They can even climb up glass by gripping onto the tiny imperfections, usually an impossible task for any spider.
Jumping spiders are known for their curiosity. If approached by a human hand, instead of scuttling away to safety as most spiders do, the jumping spider will usually leap and turn to face the hand. Further approach may result in the spider jumping backwards while still eyeing the hand.
This behavior can be explained by the jumping spider’s reliance on vision. Unlike many spiders, which use their secondary eyes mainly for navigation, the jumping spider also uses its secondary eyes to detect nearby entities (many other spiders rely instead on hairs for proximity detection). Having ascertained the presence of a nearby entity, jumping spiders will turn to examine it with the more accurate anterior median eyes, with which they identify the interloper as prey, natural phenomenon, possible threat, or potential mate. This leads them to behave in a manner suggestive of curiosity: since they are highly visual creatures that use their anterior median eyes to assess objects of interest, they must, by necessity, bring anything of interest into their visual field.
Jumping spiders have very good vision centered in their anterior median eyes (AME). Their eyes are able to create a focused image on the retina, which has up to four layers of receptor cells in it (Harland & Jackson, 2000). Physiological experiments have shown that they may have up to four different kinds of receptor cells, with different absorption spectra, giving them the possibility of up to tetrachromatic color vision, with sensitivity extending into the ultraviolet range. It seems that all salticids, regardless of whether they have two, three, or four kinds of color receptors, are highly sensitive to UV light (Peaslee & Wilson, 1989). Some species (for example, Cosmophasis umbratica) are highly dimorphic in the UV spectrum, suggesting a role in sexual signaling. Color discrimination has been demonstrated in behavioral experiments.
Jumping spiders are active hunters, which means that they do not rely on a web to catch their prey. Instead, these spiders stalk their prey. They use their superior eyesight to distinguish and track their intended meals, often for several inches. Then, they pounce, giving the insect little to no time to react before succumbing to the spider’s venom.
Although spiders are generally carnivorous, there are some jumping spiders which include nectar and pollen in their diet and one species, Bagheera kiplingi, which feeds primarily on plant matter. None are known to feed on seeds or fruit. Plants such as the partridge pea offer the jumping spiders nectar through extrafloral nectaries, and in return the spiders help to protect the plant by killing and eating pests.