Posted by: arrogantscientist | January 3, 2009

Zebra Spiders

Well it didn’t take much research to find out what these lab-dwelling spiders are. Looks like they are Salticus scenicus, or Zebra Spiders.


According to Wikipedia, these spiders are usually 5-7mm long and the males are slightly smaller than the females. They are jumping spiders and of their eight eyes they make use of the large pair at the front for binocular vision. They eat prey about their own size (Drosophila are the perfect size for them – see below) but do not live in webs. I presume the web-like structures I found them with were egg sacs, which the mothers protect.

The males are slightly smaller, and of two I found together, I think the one above is female, and the one below is male. The one in the previous spider-related post looks female too.


Drosophila are roughly half the size of these spiders, as you can see from the next image.


You’ll notice the fly in this picture has different eyes from the wild-type fly in the post below. These yellow, heart-shaped eyes, as opposed to the wild-type red, round eyes, show that one copy of the balancer chromosome FM7c is present in this fly. Balancer chromosomes are one of the genetic tools that make Drosophila such a powerful model organism, but I wont go off on a tangent here, as this post is about spiders.

And if you’re wondering – these flies/spiders are not dead. Flies, and apparently spiders, can be safely anaesthetised using CO2. That’s why they don’t fly or run away when you stick them in silly poses.

Also, a note for any anal taxonomists – when I say Drosophila I obviously mean Drosophila Melanogaster, not D. pseudoobscura, or D. simulans, or D. virilis, or whatever. 🙂



  1. I was about to make some remark about the lack of decent spiders in the UK, but then, and quite fortunately, I decided to read the wikipedia page about the Zebra spider, which “are widespread across Britain.” It seems I know very little about spiders.

    Great microscope pictures btw. More, please!

  2. All spiders look cool, but most of the ones we get in the UK are so bloody small you’ll never really see them without a microscope. I like looking at ones with nothing else in the picture to judge their size by, and pretending they’re the size of dinner plates or small dogs.

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