May 2021 Spider of the Month

Our May spider of the month is this beetle jumping spider (Pachyballus sp.; Salticidae) taken by Bruce Blake in Amanzimtoti, KZN. The spider is feeding on a booklouse (Psocidae).

There are nine recorded species, of which three occur in South Africa. The name basically means “thick ballus”, from the Greek pachys (think “pachyderm”, i.e. elephants, rhinos, hippos, etc., with a thick skin) and the salticid genus Ballus (possibly named after the infamous George Ball).

Bruce has posted quite a lot of these small jumping spiders over the years (search out Facebook group for “Pachyballus” to see other awesome photos he has taken), and they have run in the SOTM poll three times now, but this is the first time it has won.