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Green Jumping Spider - Mopsus mormon (M. penicillatus)

FAMILY SALTICIDAE

This page contains pictures and information about Green Jumping Spiders that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia. They are also known as Northern Green Jumping Spiders. In some older literatures Mopsus penicillatus was used as their scientific name. 

Female, body length 12mm, grow up to 18mm.
 
Green Jumping Spiders are beautiful and very large jumping spiders. They are the largest jumping spider found in Australia. They are supposed the rain-forest species. In Brisbane, we sometimes found them hunting on large green leaves in gardens and in backyards, especially on those rain-forest plants.
 
Jumping Spiders in Australia are not toxic to human, but  this Green Jumping Spider is known will give a painful bite. Anyways no human deaths are attributed to their bite.
 
The genus Mopsus is closely related with genus Sandalodes. They are put together as the same genus in the old days. 

Male Green Jumping Spider

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Male, body length 15mm
 
The male spider's body is bright green in colour with dark red head. The front pair of big eyes occupy half of its dark face, below are the large fangs. On the abdomen there is the white colour on green with two black lines. 
 
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Theirs legs are green to dark red in colour. Around its head there is the hairy white crown with a topknot of black hairs.
 
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In the above pictures, notice the silk line attached to the end tip of the spider. The silk line also known as safety-line. When a jumping spider moves or jumps, it always leaves a safety-line behind. If the jump missed the spider can always climb back to its original position and this prevents them from falling down. More information about spiders and their silk can be found in this page.
 

Female Green Jumping Spider

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Female, body length 10mm, grow up to 18mm.
 
Female Green Jumping Spiders do not have this crown. She is a little bit larger than the male when fully grown. She has the white and brownish-red pattern on her thorax. The above pictures show the spider just captured a Pyralid Moth
 
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Since the Pyralid Moths like to hide in plants near the floor, where is also the hunting ground of the jumping spider. We found a few time that the spider feeding on Pyralid Moth. 
 
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The Green Jumping Spider also preys on insects and other spiders. The above first picture shows the female just captured a Lynx Spider, which is also an active hunter on plants near ground.
 
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This spider is also known as Northern Green Jumping Spider, this seems imply that the spider is only common in northern Australia. We found this spider is also fairy common in Brisbane. We often found them in backyard and gardens during summer season. 
 

The Retreat 

Green Jumping Spider females build their nests and egg sacs on a single curved leaf. Male and female may live in the same nest in mating season.
 
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The Green Jumping Spiders like to hunt and build nest among long sword shape leaves. The above pictures show a female on the entry of her nest. We found this nest in early summer. We noticed that a male is also live together in this nest. There were three compartments in the nest. Male and female lived in different compartments. The middle compartment was the egg sac. The male was in the top and the female in the bottom compartment. Each compartment was like a tunnel, with opening at both ends. We also found another Green Jumping Spider nest near by. This nest, as most other jumping spider nests we found, was only the female with her egg sac, no male was found.  
 
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The above pictures show a male guarding the nest with eggs sac. We did not see the female, may be she was out for hunting. 
 

Reference:
1. A Guide to Australian Spiders - Densey Clyne, Melbourne, Nelson 1969, p52, 97 (Mopsus penicillatus).
2. Australian Spiders in colour - Ramon Mascord, Reed Books Pty Ltd, 1970, p24 (Mopsus penicillatus).
3. Spiders - genus Mopsus - lifeunseen.com, by Nick Monaghan, 2007.  
4. Green jumping spider - The Find-a-spider Guide for Australian Spiders, University of Southern Queensland, 2007.
5. Mopsus mormon (Green Jumping Spider) - by Robert Whyte, Save Our Waterways Now. 
6. Salticidae (Arachnida : Araneae) of the Oriental, Australian and Pacific regions, XIII: the genus Sandalodes Keyserling - Marek Zabka, Invertebrate Taxonomy, 2000, 14, 695704. 

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Last updated: April 24, 2010.