Jumping Spider

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Jumping spider (Phidippus nikites or Phidippus apacheanus), seen in Banning, California.

You can't truly identify many spiders until you look them in the face. There, the pattern of the eyes speak volumes of exactly who the critter is. So while we don't know if this little critter is a Phidippus apacheanus or Phidippus nikites (the more likely choice, says spider expert Carl Olson), the body type is enough to call it a jumping spider, a broad and diverse family that includes a range of colors and sizes.

Jumping spiders typically have stout, hairy bodies and short, strong legs. They have excellent eyesight and hunt their live prey (various insects and the hobo spider, among others) during the day, pouncing from a distance that's sometimes many times their body length. They don't spin webs but do attach themselves to a secure silk line before leaping on their prey.

These spiders move erratically in all directions (including backwards and sideways) and jump with lightning speed. As a rule, jumping spiders bite humans only when disturbed or provoked.

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