February 2023 Spider of the Month

The spider of the month (SOTM) is this green thyenula jumping spider (Thyenula juvenca; Salticidae), photographed by Joey De Villiers in Skoenmakerskop in the Eastern Cape.

I’m not sure about the etymology of Thyenula (or even Thyene), but I think juvenca is Latin for a young cow or heifer. No idea why Simon (1902) chose this name.

There are 24 recorded species in the world, with 20 of them found in South Africa, and a few others in Lesotho and Zimbabwe. Only one species (T. ammonis) is found outside Southern Africa, in Egypt.

I’m not aware of any other Thyenula species that are green; they’re mostly brown and black.

Joey described the find as follows:

“While having coffee, in the garden, I noticed a lizard sneaking up to a green speck against a wall. Being about the same size as the lizard’s head, the speck turned around and moved towards the lizard. At this point, the lizard either lost interest or courage, and backed away. I went inside to fetch my camera, only to find the speck missing upon my return. While gently searching through the plants, I noticed little Salti sitting right next to me on a leaf; happily investigating my search. After nudging Salti onto my hand, it proceeded to explore my hand and sleeve. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, I placed Salti on my cellphone’s screen and conducted a short photoshoot. The Salti was happy to pose for a while, after which I returned it to its leaf. I have not seen the lizard since.”

This is Joey’s first SOTM, and he’s also new to the group. Out of 141 votes, he received 77 votes. Congratulations, Joey, and we hope to see you post more photos in the future!