So I have been identifying Jumping Spiders (Salticidae) for a few months now, but I feel like I’ve hit a roadblock. I have no idea where or how to find methods for identification. I don’t know if I’m wording this right, but it seems like there are a few people who can just look at a Salticid and go “Oh! I know that one! It’s (insert super rare species that I wouldn’t even have imagined)” are they self taught? Or do they have some kind of guide book or something? Where do I find resources to help? Is this question too niche?
There are a decent number of identification guides for jumping spiders online. It depends a good bit on where you are located in the world though.
You might take a look at this post from a little while ago:
I posted a few spider ID links in there, and there is a lot of good advice in general.
Here’s a link to jumping spiders of SE Asia:
Here’s a general guide to spiders of Europe (you can head to the jumping spider portion:
The spider eye arrangement page is sometimes helpful too:
For some reason the spiders of Europe and Greenland page isn’t opening right now, but maybe it’s just temporarily down:
Easiest way to identify spiders to species is by their genitals. Yeah, not the easiest, although the most accurate. This works only if you’ve also analyzed their colours, patterns, and size/shape.
In North America, I often start by scanning this page on BugGuide: https://bugguide.net/node/view/1962#body Most species have two photos, one of an adult male the other of an adult female.
Via dissection or taking a close up? I don’t want to harm any that I find
more often than not genitalia dissection is the only way to determine an insect/spider etc. to species level.
It is often not known how to identify spider species within a genus from photos alone, but it is certainly possible in the vast majority of cases. The tricky bit is that it’s often only possible to learn how to ID from photos by finding enough photographs of living spiders which were later dissected to confirm their identity. Photos of “preserved” specimens usually aren’t enough. In some regions of the world this work has already been done for most families of spiders, in others much work remains to be done before we’ll be able to ID from photos. Jumping spiders in the US and Canada are relatively well documented, for example.
There are exceptions, where two or more closely related species are visually indistinguishable, but this seems to be relatively rare compared to the number of species which are visually distinct.
Hey I appreciate this clarification, many thanks.
There is a wealth of information just looking through existing RG iNat observations, especially ones that have comments. You can look through identifications from knowledgeable folks like salticidude, calebcam, zygy, salttaxa, etc. And learn from the comments they’ve left along with their IDs. Takes some work but there is a lot of useful info to be found here. You can also ask identifiers why they gave a particular ID and they are usually happy to share info / field markings.
Also, of course BugGuide has photos and ID tips for the vast majority of the North American Salticidae. Almost every NA jumping spider you see on iNat will be well represented on BugGuide. Overall this is probably your best resource (as long as you’re staying in North America) as much of the relevant information from the literature is here, and usually easier to digest.
The Peckham Society has all of their papers available free and there is a lot of great info in here, although it’s not nicely indexed and easy to sort through: https://peckhamia.com/
Wayne Maddison’s salticidae.org also has a nice selection of photos (including many undescribed/unidentified species) that are split up by region, which is helpful for finding similar examples if you don’t know what you’re looking at: http://salticidae.org/salticidImages/
Beyond that, once you get beyond IDing the common NA species from photos and want to learn more, start digging into the literature - make an account on the WSC and you will have access to pretty much the entire history of scientific literature on spiders. Spider nerds are very lucky to have access to this resource: https://wsc.nmbe.ch/
Honestly, I’m really glad you asked this question @Strawberrytart. I’ve also been in a bit of a stuck place trying to figure out how to identify salticidae given there appear to be a lack of guides similar to the ones edanko made for flies. That is, pointing out various markings and shapes that work to ID that particular genus or species. Granted, spiders are not flies and that does add to the difficulty a bit.
Are there any knowledgeable folks nearby? A natural science museum, university collection? Often ag extension agencies have staff identifying pests that also know a great deal about other species in their area.
When I was learning to ID jumping spiders, I relied a lot on http://www.jumping-spiders.com/ (especially the image browser) and http://salticidae.org/salticidImages/. If you live in the United States or Canada, this page is also useful: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Salticidae_of_the_United_States_and_Canada.
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