Valentine's Day: Looking for a Suitor?

Feb 14, 2017

On Valentine's Day, it's inaccurate to say that "everything is coming up roses."

Not everything.

Think jumping spiders on flowers. They come up, too.

Take that jumping spider (family Salticidae) perched on a red trumpetlike vine at the Benicia Marina, Solano County. It was not alone. Another jumper waited below. A suitor? An aggressor? 

They oogled one another with their four pairs of eyes (all jumping spiders have four pairs of eyes), and then one oogled me and my camera.

"Don't take my picture."

And they vanished.

But a photograph of a jumping spider on a red flower is a good thing. Especially on Valentine's Day. And especially when you get a twofer (two-for-one).

Actually, it's not so unusual to have both "jumping spider" and "Valentine's Day" together in the same sentence:  CBC News, Calgary, interviewed two spider enthusiasts for a piece on "Bondage, Gifts and Cannibalism: A Spider's Valentine's Day" published Feb. 12.

John and Kathleen Hancock of Pincher Creek, Alberta,  related that Valentine's Day can be deadly when a female spider eats her suitor. (So said the people who acknowledged they once had 4,500 spiders living in a spare room of their home.)

"The male (spider) is a good meal and he is actually contributing to the growth of his offspring if she eats him," Kathleen said.

"There are a number of species of Australian jumping spiders that are absolutely fantastic," said John. "Each species of jumping spider has a different dance, and if he approaches the wrong female, she'll just eat him."

It helps to have the right moves, or "dinner and a movie" can just wind up as "A (bad) move and a (good) meal."