Salticidae Sunday - Platycryptus californicus (P. californicus)

californicus, Platycryptus -

Salticidae Sunday - Platycryptus californicus (P. californicus)

This blog has spent quite a bit of time focusing on the Phiddipus, so I figured it was time to do a different genus for our Salticidae Sunday post. I’d like to introduce the Platycryptus californicus 

 

Kingdom 

Anamalia 

Phylum 

Arthropod 

Subphylum 

Chelicerata 

Class 

Arachnida 

Order 

Araneae 

Infraorder 

Araneomorphae 

Family 

Salticidae 

Genus 

Platycryptus  

Species 

P. californicus 

 

You may recognize these little guys if you are in Northern and Central America. We happen to see them EVERYWHERE. They are fun to watch, and are great for keeping the smaller bugs down in our yard. We don’t sell them, but we have several in our house plants. In fact, there is one that watches me every week while I write up this blog. He likes my peace lily 

Identification: 


The 
californicus is easily recognizable by their leaf-like pattern and their narrow abdomen. They are smaller than any species we have covered so far and range anywhere between 6-11 mm. The grey leaf pattern is encased by fluffy black or brown hair along their sides. Because of their petite nature, many people mistake them for babies. More commonly though, they are completely overlooked because they are small and excellent at playing hide and seek 

Personalities: 

These little ones are quick. In nature where it is typically kill or be killed, that is a good thing. They are smaller which makes them more vulnerable to other species, so they rely on their speed to get away. Not that they are always running/jumping, but if they feel threatened, their first instinct is to run.   

Their size also makes them great predators for some of the smaller insects that can hide in your house plants or garden. Things like fruit flies, fungus gnats, whiteflies, etc. are the perfect bite size meal for these little guys. Which is why I always tell people not to kill them, some of those insects can be a pain to get rid of once they make a home in your plants. Having some of these guys around really helps to control the population.  

Speaking of pray; when they find some tasty morsel, I have observed several times that they jump on the prey, then immediately jump back into their hiding spot. Not saying that this is exclusive to the californacus, but it is pretty awesome to watch their natural instincts take over.  

Breeding: 

No, we do not breed these, and no, we have never done a breeding feature on any of our other posts, and no, this is not specific to the californicus. I came across an article about how jumping spiders breed and found it incredibly interesting so I thought I would share. If anyone has seen either a video or a picture of jumping spiers breeding, you may have noticed the males do not use their abdomen like most people would expect. For those of you that don’t know, the males use their palps to fertilize the females and make the babies. There is more to the story though.  

But first, a picture. This is the palpus of a male spider, which is NOT where the sperm is created, but it IS where the sperm is stored.  

 

Which may make you ask how it gets there. Well, that is a great question. When a male is ready to find a mate, he spins a web and drops some sperm on it from under his abdomen. At that point he takes the sperm and draws it up through an opening in his palp so it can be stored in the sperm duct. At that point, all he needs to do is perfect his mating dance and find a female that is into him. He uses his palpus to *ahem* deposit the sperm in the ephigynum located on the female's abdomen.  

It’s pretty interesting actually. If you want more information about spider mating or other jumping spider biology I strongly recommend this site I am slowly making my way through it and have found a lot of interesting information about spider biology.  

Please reach out if there is a species or other information you would like me to cover in our next blog. Requests are always helpful.  

 

http://tolweb.org/accessory/Jumping_Spider_Palpi?acc_id=2013  

http://idtools.org/id/table_grape/spider/factsheet.php?name=Platycryptus+californicus 

 

 


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