A gorgeous salticid: a mascot for the University of Manchester?

by Matthew Cobb

This fantastic salticid (that’s a jumping spider, bub: tiny but amazing predators) was posted recently by Sofía Gabriela (aka @sofiabiologista) on that social network that Jerry does not do, but it appears to have been around for a few months.

There is more information on this FB page which says

It’s hard to be scared of a spider that looks so gorgeous. These male jumping spiders are 4mm long, and belong to the family genus Simaetha. They were photographed in the Sraburi Province of Thailand last year. Male jumping spiders are often more strikingly coloured than the females, because it’s their job to perform the courtship displays.

The photo – and perhaps the discovery – are credited to Theerasak Saksritawee, aka Pupumon (the handle is the name of a ‘slime digimon’ says Google). He’s in his late 20s and clearly has a knack with macro-photography. You can find a few of his other photos here. He also took this mantis which photobombed a photo of a spider (or is it vice-versa?):

The colours of the University of Manchester, where I work, are purple and gold – we have banks of purple and yellow crocuses that flower in spring and our academic gowns, which our graduating students will soon be wearing, are black with purple and gold trim. I therefore suggest to The Powers The Be that we make this Simaetha species spider the official University of Manchester mascot.

[JAC: Can they call the school teams “The Manchester Salticids”?]



  1. Posted June 9, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    There are many beautiful salticids out there, but this one is the purtiest.

  2. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    That mantis appears to be wearing a droplet of water as a hat.

  3. Posted June 9, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Can they call the school teams “The Manchester Salticids”?

    Perhaps, “The Salaciously United Manchester Salticids”?


  4. jaxkayaker
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    If they change the team name, how about the Man Jumpers as a nickname?

  5. Jim Knight
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    This spider is in the Genus Simaetha, in the Family Salticidae, not the family Simaetha.
    For most people this probably sounds nitpicky, but as a systematist it is more pleasing to my reading eyes to see a family name end in -idae…

  6. Posted June 9, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    The spider and mantis look like they’re best friends. “Me and My Buddy.” This could be a great movie, like Milo and Otis. Salty and Manty go out on a crazy cross country adventure and learn about life, love, and friendship as blah blah blah…

    • eric
      Posted June 9, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      “Harold and Kumar try to eat your face.”

    • Posted June 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Quick, pitch it to Pixar or Dreamworks!


    • jaxkayaker
      Posted June 9, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      My favorite IMAX movie (I don’t recall the name, possibly “Bugs”) followed the life stories of a butterfly and a mantid. They didn’t meet until the end of the movie, which didn’t quite show the meeting. The camera cut away, and showed the butterfly’s disarticulated wings floating down. This was followed by a moment of silence from the audience, then a great wailing as many of the children realized the meaning of the image. I found it hilarious.

  7. wnwd
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    One of Theerasak Saksritawee’s, apparently S-M-L spider eyes/heads… but where’s the rest?


  8. Posted June 9, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Maybe you can team up with the University of Richmond (VA) Spiders. (They seem to have the whole order covered.)

  9. bobsgutarshop
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Such amazing coloration. (***Potentially Stupid Biology Question Alert***) I suppose the reproductive/mating benefits of such bright colors must outweigh the negative affects of being an easier to spot prey item.

    • Jim Knight
      Posted June 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Do spiders have color vision? It would seem so. A fair number of vertebrates don’t, and bright colors, sitting still in a shade mosaic or on a colored background wouldn’t be very conspicuous. The bright red of coral snakes disappears in a shade mosaic, so maybe this spider does also?

      • lkr
        Posted June 9, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        In fact, most non-mammalian vertebrates — and nearly all diurnal species — can discriminate colors at least as well as humans, and some probably better [with more than 3 types of cones]. Mammals — most of them — are the great exception, and even with two types of cones, most mammals would see the contrast between purple and yellow. Yet another retrograde in intelligent design when the nonavian dinosaur niches came open.

        Color vision is also well-developed in most diurnal insects and spiders.. so these spiders are hardly likely to be cryptic unless they’re frequenting a tapestry store.

        • Jim Knight
          Posted June 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          Is there a ready reference on color vision in non-mammalian vertebrates? I have often been tempted to see what snakes are capable of seeing. Their vision is acute out to about 40-50 feet, and maybe farther in some species, but color vision in snakes is an aspect I have not seen anything on.

  10. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    [JAC: Can they call the school teams “The Manchester Salticids”?]

    It’s not that long to “Feel a little Fresher” time, so Matthew could drop the idea into the shell-like lug’oles of the recruiters for the University Challenge team. They’ll, ahemm, jump at it, I’m sure.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 9, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand, think of the horrors of Starter-for-ten questions this might prompt in the foetid pits of the question-setter’s minds.

  11. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    On the gripping hand, those horrible questions have a 50:50 chance of going to the other team.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      On the fourth hand, there’s a subject that they know is going to be worth boning up on. (I dread to find out how that reads to American eyes!)

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        On the fifth hand … I’m running out of ideas, but we’ve not yet got to the end of the chelichiate appendages.

  12. Marella
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    You can tell by the mantis’ silly expression that he is the photo-bomber …

  13. Mark Joseph
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink


  14. glenn2point0
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    This colorful spider also made the rounds on facebook yesterday.

  15. Posted June 12, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Dreamkid and commented:
    What an amazingly beautiful creature. I can’t say I like spiders but this one is OK, mostly because it is only 4mm long.

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