About *updated 01/2021
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 7 years searching for jumping spiders to photograph in various parts of South Africa.
The Jumping spider family (Salticidae) is the largest spider family worldwide, with more than 6200 species described. In South Africa 76 genera and 356 species are currently described with the number growing yearly.
They are diurnal, active hunters with excellent eyesight and can be recognised by their large anterior median eyes. Salticids are small to medium spiders and in South Africa their sizes range between 1.5mm and 17mm with Hyllus treleaveni the largest in South Africa (and Africa).
For further information on jumping spiders, as well as the other spider families of South Africa, I highly recommend the 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 years and they have not once shown any aggressive 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.
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 7 years.
Equipment: – Canon 5DS R and occasionally Canon 60D
– Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens
– Canon MT-24EX macro twin flash with a homemade diffuser
– Laowa 25mm f2.8 Ultra Macro Lens
– Kuangren macro twin flash KX-800
Many of the spiders were caught, photographed and released. Some of the spiders were collected by Mr. Peter Webb who so graciously allowed me photograph them. I also received help from more people that afforded me an opportunity to photograph live spiders collected as part of the SANSA (South African National Survey of Arachnida) project before they were deposited in the National Collection.
Some of the photos are hand-held focus stacks of between 2-9 shots (the spiders stayed in one position for a minute or so making focus stacking possible). A few of my more recent photos are deeper stacks but I still shoot single frames as well (sometime a spider will just not sit still and I eventually have to settle for one shot).
It is impossible to identify most jumping spiders to species level without studying the reproductive organs of those spiders under a microscope. As many of the spiders were not collected, identification was sometimes just possible to genus level. SANSA (South African National Survey of Arachnida) spiders were identified to species level where possible by Prof. Charles Haddad and Dr. Galina Azarkina (during her South African visits).
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.
Prof. Charles Haddad, Associate Professor, 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 many 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.
The Guest Book:
Thank you to everyone that has signed the guestbook, your comments mean a lot to me and have made it all worthwhile.