About

The website:

The aim of this website is to showcase the diversity and beauty of South African jumping spiders by means of a photographic gallery of the different species.
Not all the species are represented as yet, but I will keep adding new species as and when I find them.
I've spent the last year and a half searching for jumping spiders to photograph in various parts of South Africa.

The spiders:

The Jumping spider family (Salticidae) is the largest spider family worldwide, with more than 5500 species described. In South Africa 67 genera and 265 species are currently described.
They are diurnal, active hunters with excellent eyesight and can be recognised by their large anterior median eyes. Salticids are mostly small spiders between 2mm and 8mm (depending on the species) with only Holcolaetus zuluensis and Hyllus treleaveni as large as 17mm.

For further information on jumping spiders, as well as the other spider families of South Africa, I highly recommend the latest spider book, "Field Guide to the Spiders of South Africa", written by Prof Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman and published by Lapa Uitgewers. ISBN 978-0-7993-6018-9

To the arachnophobes out there:

I've handled hundreds of jumping spiders over the last year and they have not once shown any aggresive behaviour towards me.
They have never bitten or even attempted to bite me.
To my knowledge there have been no record of any significant human medical reaction to jumping spider venom.
Please don't kill them, they are amazing little creatures and highly beneficial in controlling pests.

Me:

My name is Vida van der Walt, I live in South Africa and I am an amateur macro photographer with an interest in insects and spiders. I've photographed a number of different insects and spiders but have photographed jumping spiders almost exclusively during the last 18 months.

The photos:

Equipment:  – Canon 60D and occasionally a Canon 5D Mark 11 camera.
                            – Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens
                            – Canon MT-24EX macro twin flash with a homemade diffuser.

The spiders were caught, photographed and released. Some of the spiders were collected by Mr Peter Webb who so graciously allowed me to photograph them.
A few of the photos are handheld focus stacks of between 2 – 9 shots (the spiders stayed in one position for a minute or two making focus stacking possible).

The identification:

It is impossible to identify the species of some jumping spiders without studying the reproductive organs of the dead specimens under a microscope. As my spiders are released unharmed, photos of some spiders will only be accompanied by the name of the genus followed by the letters sp (species) or possible genus and sometimes by a possible species name.

Acknowledgements:

This website would not have been possible without the help of some very special people. A huge thank you to :
Prof Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman, SA's foremost arachnologist, Specialist Scientist and author of many spider articles and books. Ansie, thank you for your inspiration, encouragement, guidance and help.
Dr Charles Haddad, Senior lecturer, arachnologist and SA's Salticidae expert for his help with species identification. Charles, thank you for your patience, time and for sharing your extensive knowledge and research.
Mr Peter Webb, fellow nature lover, photographer and collector. Peter, thank you for finding Salticids for me to photograph.
Dr Galina Azarkina, Salticidae expert, scientist and arachnologist from Siberia. Galina, thank you for your time and assistance with spider identification.
My husband Johan and son Vihan. Johan and Vihan, thank you for all your encouragement, love and support.