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Awesome Jumper Observations


Ralph
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So I was peeling bark today and unearthed a nest of tiny orange ants. I watched them frantically carry their larvae and pupae away in various directions for a while, and noticed a small, round jumping spider (Naphrys) hop over. It made a few pounces at the ants but pulled back when they defended themselves. Then it wedged itself in a bark crag and waited, unnoticed by the ants. A few more minutes went by, and the spider spotted an ant carrying a larva. It crept over a bark ridge and jumped to the ant's side, strafing around in front of it. With a quick lunge it pulled the larva out of the ant's jaws and escaped a few inches down the tree.

After it finished the larva the spider headed back to the nest and stole another one in a similar manner. I love these guys. :lol:

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I used to keep a lot of jumping spiders for fighting when I was a kid (sorry, but that's what kids do...). They are really amazing creatures, when they are confronted with a larger opponent, they are capable of retreat and then come around at a later time to attack from behind, that's real clever for a insect ths size. Really interesting to watch those guys hunt!

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That's an amazing account of natural history in the animals. I don't suppose the spider would have had a chance at the larvae without your help, but many different insects do live right in the middle of ant colonies for a portion of their lives including stick-insects and the larvae of, I believe, a hairstreak butterfly. It is interesting that the spider would capture the larva. I wonder if it just grabbed whatever it sank its fangs into, or whether it was targeting the larva specifically. I'm sure these spiders have encountered ant larvae millions of years before humans ever...ever...

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