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Posts Tagged: jumping spider

Stop and Smell the Roses! (And Watch for Jumping Spiders!)

"Stop and smell the roses!"

It's a good way to savor the moment, of living in the present instead of the past or future.

We delight in the aroma of the "Sparkle and Shine" yellow rose that we purchased several years ago at the California Center for Urban Horticulture's annual Rose Day on the UC Davis campus.

Sometimes there's an added bonus--a praying mantis, a honey bee, a longhorned bee, European wool carder bee, carpenter bee, a hover fly, a butterfly, or another insect. They do not all get along. Like beginners in an elementary school band, they do not play well together. Some of the territorial bees want to claim ownership ("Mine! mine! mine!"). The honey bees linger longer than they should. The butterflies don't. The hover flies hover. And the praying mantis? It just wants dinner.

Today, it was not an insect but an arthropod that caught our attention: a jumping spider. We pointed the Canon MPE-65mm lens directly in its eyes. It just looked back at us, figuring we were no threat.

If you like to "look back" at insects or arthropods, then you should head over to the UC Davis open house this Saturday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane. It's off LaRue Road. The open house is free and open to the public.

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses some eight million specimens, plus a live "petting zoo," filled with critters you can hold, such as walking sticks, millipedes, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and tarantulas.

It's a day when entomologists will be there to show you how to collect insects, pin a butterfly, and how to look through a microscope. You'll also see a bee observation hive provided by the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.

And, if you have a mind to, you can visit the gift shop and purchase such items as nets, T-shirts, jewelry, posters and books.

You'll even find books on spiders.

A jumping spider, nestled in the petals of a yellow rose,
A jumping spider, nestled in the petals of a yellow rose, "Sparkle and Shine," looks at the photographer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A jumping spider, nestled in the petals of a yellow rose, "Sparkle and Shine," looks at the photographer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Bumble Bees and Spiders Don't Mix?

Bumble bees and spiders don't mix, you say?

Well, they will at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 26. The family-centered event, free and open to the public, takes place in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.

Actually the theme is about spiders: "Arachnids: Awesome or Awful?" There you'll see black widow spiders, jumping spiders, cellar spiders and the like. But you don't have to "like" them as you do posts on Facebook!

You can also learn about bumble bees. Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, will be one of the tour guides.  Thorp co-authored the newly published Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide, which is available in the Bohart gift shop. He can autograph your book and answer questions about how to attract bees to your garden.

Thorp was recently interviewed by Tom Oder of the Mother Nature Network on how to garden for bumble bees. So was Steve Buchmann, an adjunct professor in entomology and ecology at the University of Arizona.

Thorp told Mother Nature Network that some bumble bees are in very serious decline, and others are doing quite well.

So, how do you attract them to your garden? Buchmann was quoted as saying: “Gardening for bumblebees is similar to gardening for other bees and pollinators."  To entice bumblebees to visit your garden, “plant mints, Salvia, Monarda, plants in the sunflower family and clovers."

Read Oder's article for more information.

And keep your eyes open for the soon-to-be-published California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, co-authored by entomologist Gordon Frankie of UC Berkeley, Thorp, and two others with UC Berkeley connections: photographer/entomologist Rollin Coville and floral curator Barbara Ertter.

As for Saturday, July 26 there won't be a vote on whether you like bumble bees or spiders better, nor will you be asked to sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "Baby Bumble Bee." It promises, though, to be fun and educational. Plus, you can enjoy the live  "petting zoo," featuring 24-year-old Rosie the tarantula, assorted walking sticks, and the colorful Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Yes, they hiss.

The gift shop is also popular. You can browse through the books, jewelry, t-shirts, sweatshirts, insect-themed candy, butterfly houses, and insect-collecting kits.

The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses nearly eight million insect specimens and is the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum.

 

The museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It's closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free. For more information, email education and outreach coordinator Tabatha Yang at tabyang@ucdavis.edu or telephone her at (530) 752-0493.

A camouflaged jumping spider eyes a honey bee on Japanese anemone. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A camouflaged jumping spider eyes a honey bee on Japanese anemone. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A camouflaged jumping spider eyes a honey bee on Japanese anemone. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Robbin Thorp points at a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenski. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Robbin Thorp points at a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenski. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Robbin Thorp points at a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenski. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Jump!

There's a good reason why jumping spiders are named "jumping spiders."

They jump. 

A jumping spider, according to National Geographic, can jump 50 times its body length. 

We saw this jumping spider (family, Salticidae and probably genus Phidippus) in our flower bed last weekend.

Perched on a pink petunia, it waited for dinner, its four pairs of eyes surveying the floral menu; its rear legs poised to jump; its front legs ready to grasp unsuspecting prey. Meanwhile, its iridescent chelicerae glistened in the sunlight. 

Wikipedia says that "the genus name is likely derived from Cicero's speech speech Pro Rege Deiotaro (Speech in Behalf of King Deiotarus): Phidippus was a slave who was physician to King Deiotaros. Literally, the word means 'one who spares horses' in Ancient Greek."

One thing's for sure: A hungry Phidippus would not "spare" a bee! Check out this National Geographic video on You Tube about a jumping spider and a honey bee. 

Jumping spider on a petunia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Jumping spider on a petunia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Jumping spider on a petunia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of jumping spider. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of jumping spider. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of jumping spider. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 9:53 PM

A Bug-Eat-Bug World

It's a bug-eat-bug world out there.

Today we watched a syrphid fly, aka "hover fly" and "flower fly," circling a blanket flower (Gaillardia) and then touching down to sip a little nectar.

Syrphids are called "hover flies" for good reason. They "hover" over a blossom, helicoperlike. They're often mistaken for bees but to the trained eye, they really look nothing alike. Folks confuse them because both bees and syrphids are floral visitors and both are pollinators. 

If it's a floral visitor, it must be a bee, right? Wrong.

Anyway, this syrphid touched down on the blossom to sip nectar, its wings glinting in the early morning sun. Finally, it spotted the danger, a jumping spider lurking on the other side. The crafty predator lunged. Missed! 

When we returned a few minutes later, however, we saw the jumping spider beneath the petals, feasting on the syrphid.

Quickness is an attribute--whether you're a jumping spider or a syrphid.

If you want to learn more about flower flies, read entomologist Robert Bugg's "Flower Flies (Syrphidae) and Other Biological Control Agents for Aphids in Vegetable Crops" (Publication 8285, May 2008, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.) 

Syrphid fly (right) circles a blanket flower, unaware of the jumping spider.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Syrphid fly (right) circles a blanket flower, unaware of the jumping spider. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Syrphid fly (right) circles a blanket flower, unaware of the jumping spider. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Syrphid fly sipping nectar close to the predator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Syrphid fly sipping nectar close to the predator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Syrphid fly sipping nectar close to the predator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

End result--the jumping spider feasting on the syrphid fly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
End result--the jumping spider feasting on the syrphid fly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

End result--the jumping spider feasting on the syrphid fly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 8:37 PM

The Predator

I know.

Jumping spiders have to eat, but do they have to snag the bees?

Last weekend as we were checking the lavender patch in our yard, we noticed something partially hidden--and moving--on a post.

It was a jumping spider eating a honey bee. Later in the afternoon, the same jumping spider snared a sweat bee. 

If you have flower patches in your yard--and you should, to attract the pollinators--you will also attract the predators. 

Fortunately, they don't eat as much as Joey "Jaws" Chestnut of San Jose, the hot-dog eating champion of the world.

Jumping spider eating a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Jumping spider eating a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Jumping spider eating a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Jumping spider eating a sweat bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Jumping spider eating a sweat bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Jumping spider eating a sweat bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Moving fast, a spider heads for prey.  (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Moving fast, a spider heads for prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Moving fast, a spider heads for prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2012 at 6:20 PM

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