46 species of jumping spiders found on Calicut University campus
Iringalakuda: A study conducted on the campus of Calicut University found a number of species of jumping spiders. In a 10-month long study, 46 species of jumping spiders in 33 genera were identified. This is for the first time in India, so vast varieties of jumping spiders are identified from a particular area.
Jumping spiders do not build web and usually capture its prey by sudden jump over it from which it gets the name. They have 8 eyes in 3 rows and have the last pair of eyes on the back of the head making it possible for rear view without turning head.
They have strong sight and can hunt on prey day and night.
Body of male individuals possess attractive colour pattern. They attract females for mating by their specific dancing act by the characteristic movement of legs and abdomen, which is known as nuptial dance. Since many members of the family mimic venomous wasps, it is very helpful to escape from enemies.
They belong to the family Salticidae which is the biggest spider family in diversity and 6,175 varieties of jumping spiders under 644 genera have been identified so far from all over the world.
The study was conducted on 500 acres of Calicut University campus, which is rich in acacia trees, teak plantation, mango orchard, scrub jungles and grass lands.
The study was conducted by research scholar Athira Jose under the guidance of zoology department head of Calicut University Dr E Pushpalatha and head of Centre for Animal Taxonomy and Ecology at Christ College in Irinjalakuda Dr AV Sudhikumar.
The study titled ‘DNA barcoding of jumping spiders of Kerala’ was funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Findings of the study was published in the latest volume of Serket, an international scientific journal published from Egypt.