WATCH: Jumping Spider Appears to Teleport Onto Its Lunch in Video Showing Crazy Speed

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by: Javier Torrent /VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The average size of a jumping spider ranges from just 0.04 to 0.98 inches. They’re tiny, some barely even noticeable – which is probably for the best. They would be absolutely terrifying otherwise.

Like most spiders, jumping spiders have eight eyes and, of course, eight legs to match. Some have hairy bodies, while others have only a few hairs called setae. Their vision is excellent, making them adept hunters. But the thing that truly takes their hunting skill to the next level? Their speed.

Jumping spiders move at a lightning pace, particularly when hunting. As their name suggests, they leap through the air to attack their unsuspecting prey, moving so fast that the small insect or spider has no time to react. And despite their size, the miniature predators are capable of jumping 6.3 inches, around 100 times their body length.

To put that into perspective, let’s say the average jumping spider was the same size as a tarantula at 5 inches in length. Scaling up the length of a typical jump to match, you get a massive spider capable of leaping 40 feet in the blink of an eye.

Jumping spiders’ incredible hunting abilities make it all too easy to take down prey equal in size, sometimes even larger than the predator. Though they typically stick to insects and spiders, scientists have observed the regal jumping spider taking down lizards and frogs two to three times its weight.

Aren’t you glad jumping spiders are tiny?

Jumping Spider Thought to Have REM-Like Sleep

Jumping spiders are pint-sized carnivores possessing near-unmatched hunting abilities. But if you’ve ever seen one in extreme close-up, you know there’s something endearing about them. Many possess stunningly colorful bodies, and their large front eyes give them an almost cartoonish appearance.

Scientists have also learned that jumping spiders are quite intelligent. One such spider, lovingly named Kim, was trained to jump from platform to platform.

“I think they’re just special in a lot of ways,” behavior ecologist Daniela Roessler told NPR. “They have this incredible vision that is really not comparable with any other insects or anthropods. And they’ve been shown to be really smart.”

According to recent jumping spider research, the microscopic arachnids might even have dreams. The study, conducted by Roessler and her colleagues at the University of Konstanz in Germany, showed that jumping spiders experience REM-like sleep at night.

“All the legs would curl into the body and they would twitch,” Roessler said. “We would see that always when this happened. We also detected quite significant and very obvious eye movements.”

Roessler explained that it’s too early to tell if this means jumping spiders dream in their sleep. Even if they do, however, it wouldn’t be the same as human dreams.

“I mean, it’s beautiful to think about it that way,” she said. “That these spiders hang there and they have a visual scene of catching a fly or trying to get a mate. It’s quite cute, but probably is going to be very different.”