By: Sandra Markle
Publisher: Lerner Publishing
Publication Date: February 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2012
Jumping spiders are arachnids who are "gold-medal" stalkers in that they can leap extraordinary lengths when they attack their prey. If you could get close enough to a jumping spider you could see that it has eight legs and two main body parts, unlike the insect who has "six legs and three main body parts." The jumping spider goes through an incomplete, three-stage metamorphosis. It starts as an egg, becomes a spiderling (or nymph), and finally matures into an adult. The female jumping spider spins silk to house her eggs in. Once they hatch they remain in the sac until they molt. At that time they are ready to go off on their own as they are independent and can do everything "except mate and produce young."
One of the reasons that jumping spiders are successful hunters lies in the fact that they easily blend in with their environment. For example, the green jumping spider blends in so well with its surroundings "it can stalk prey without being noticed." Another especially helpful tool the jumping spider has at its disposal is its keen vision. There are "four looking forward, two on top of their head, and two toward the back of the cephalothorax." Some of them have some very interesting tricks they pull in order to lure in their unsuspecting prey. You'll read about several different types of jumping spiders, learn how they jump, how they attack and eat their prey, how they find a mate, you'll read about the mating process, how they tend to their young, and you'll learn many other interesting things about these amazing jumping spiders.
One of the most impressive parts of this book are the two, two-page spreads that show the body parts of a jumping spider. The first spread has an enlarged photograph of a female dimorphic jumping spider, while the second has a more detailed illustrated cross section detailing more than a dozen internal organs and body parts of the spider. There are more than five thousand different types of jumping spiders, but the portraits and selection of the jumping spiders in this book was very interesting. I especially liked the "Euophrys omnisuerstes, the spider who dwells in the Himalayan Mountains." The stunning photographs, especially the action-oriented ones, will mesmerize the young reader. There are numerous informative sidebars that discuss a "Jumping Spider Fact." For example, one claims that "During the summer months, each egg sac the female produces contains fewer eggs than the one before." In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a "Jumping Spider Activity," and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. There are free downloadable educational materials on the publisher's website.
Quill says: This is a fascinating look at jumping spiders, an arachnid who is a "gold-medal" stalker.