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One of the ultra tiny spiders of Vancouver

October 19, 2014


This afternoon my attention was captured by a tiny spider scampering across the rough surface of a wooden utility pole in a Fairview back alley.

Mostly I was interested in it because I could tell it wasn’t a European garden spider — for a change.

From a quarter block away the markings on its white abdomen looked like brown chevrons.

Up close — 15 centimetres close — I could see that the spider — not much more than five millimetres long — had a dark body and legs which were mostly covering with thick white hair. It’s abdomen was covered by white and brown hair giving the appearance of brown stripes on white. The pattern was symmetrically mirrored along the axial centreline of the spider’s abdomen.

Theory say spiders act one way — reality shows otherwise

It looks like nothing else I can find online quite like a zebra jumping spider. The Wikipedia entry on zebra spiders is interesting. It says the zebra spider is notable for the way it’s aware of people and of being watched:

Upon noticing someone observing them, they can be seen raising their head, and usually change behavior (hence the name Salticus scenicus, theatrical jumper).

Today’s little spider didn’t behave anything like that.

It certainly didn’t look up at me. Zebra spiders have unmistakably big eyes but the way this spider kept its head down, I couldn’t tell you if it had eyes at all.

Maybe I didn’t see a zebra spider and maybe I did. Maybe what I saw was a Vancouver zebra spider.

For instance, European garden spiders are supposedly known for consuming their webs at the end of each day and building fresh in the morning. However there is no evidence that Vancouver’s European garden spiders received this memo. Or if they did, they did they were like “ah fagedabout it!”

In the case of European garden spiders, perhaps their instinct to destroy their webs has been overridden by Vancouver’s desperate housing crunch and the need to preserve any sort of affordable house.

And perhaps I did see one of the zebra spiders of Vancouver. And perhaps it didn’t look up at me for the same reason most Vancouverites don’t.

Perhaps what I didn’t see were the teensy little ear buds and the only slightly less teensy smartphone. Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Fairview, Spiders

  1. Good heavens! Fire Ants that bite and now spiders that jump! And worse, stare you down!! This is getting crazy.

    • I think the interesting implication, zebra spiders aside, is that the majority of the earth’s population proceeds about its business as if humankind and its awesome civilization doesn’t exist.

      It’s not that I don’t trust CP Rail — given their spotless history — but I did find it curious how fire ants manifested to CP Rail but not to the residents who daily biked and walked themselves and their dogs along the tracks.

      When the heavy rains come I for one won’t be surprised if CP Rail finds deadly piranhas in the puddles.

  2. Slowcrow permalink

    Nice post. I’ve noticed these little guys thru the years, but just in passing. I would shoo them away, i guess because their different way of moving made me a little uncomfortable (it is somewhat squirrel-like, before i now realize what they are doing, and processing all that input from all those eyes…. ). Was just reading about the occulus rift technology. Maybe someday we can ‘be’ spiders etal. Maybe old age infirmity is not going to be too boring…….

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