August 2022 Spider of the Month

Our August spider of the month (SOTM) is this giant jumping spider (Hyllus sp.; Salticidae), photographed by Hannes Claasens, who spotted the spider hiding among his mother’s ferns in Marloth Park in Mpumalanga.

Hyllus was the son of Heracles and Deianira in Greek mythology. I do not know why the spider was named after him. The biggest jumping spiders belong to this genus (Hyllus giganteus being the biggest in the world), so it would have made more sense to name them after Heracles.

There are 65 recorded species in the world, with six recorded species in South Africa (with a few undescribed species). Of these, Hyllus treleaveni is our biggest jumping spider. Most species occur in Africa and Madagascar, and a few in Australasia up to India.

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