January 2023 Spider Of The Month

The first Spider of the Month (SOTM) for 2023 is this green jumping spider (Asemonea sp.; Salticidae), taken by Daniel Lee Owen Rautenbach in Macheke, Zimbabwe.

There are 25 recorded species in the world, with four recorded species in South Africa. Most species occur in Africa, with a few from Asia. I could not find anything about the etymology of the name Asemonea. Some of them were moved from the very similar genus Lyssomanes, which is Greek for “raving mad”, presumably due to the frenzied activity of the spider.

While all jumping spiders have cone-shaped eye tubes that can move independently, this movement is quite clear in especially Asemonea and Lyssomanes species. When they look straight at the camera, the eyes are black, but when they are focused elsewhere, they are green, or a combination of black and green, depending on the angle. Daniel posted a video on his original post. Another video of the very similar Lyssomanes viridis, taken by the late Andreas Kay, can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKIJNduPYBs

Daniel said:

“This is the first Asemonea sp. I’ve found. I was actually in the process of photographing an Argiope sp. deep in a bush, when I caught a glimpse of it through the corner of my eye. Incredibly hard to notice on the underside of a leaf! I lost sight of it several times while I was taking pictures. I’m sure as everyone who has found one before has noted; it was the eyes that stood out the most through the lens, watching the cone-shaped tubes moving around from eye to eye. Surprisingly once I had relocated it to a nearby rock, it calmed down and was very comfortable with all my moving around, taking photos from different angles, before I let it go back where I’d found it.”

This is Daniel’s third SOTM from only 11 nominations. Of 144 people who voted, 69 voted for his photo. Congratulations!

To nominate a spider for SOTM, please tag me in the post. Please note that photos have to be in landscape format, or suitable to be cropped to landscape format.