By Calvin Jones
Although often overlooked because of its small size the zebra spider’s attractive black and white livery and its lively antics mean that it’s quite easy to spot if you look for it. The species is common throughout Ireland and can be found patrolling the walls of houses and gardens on sunny days throughout the summer months and well into the autumn.
This diminutive hunter belongs to a large family of spiders known as jumping spiders. Instead of trapping its prey in a web like many of its relatives the zebra spider relies on its exceptional eyesight and agility to stalk and catch its prey. A relatively small spider, the zebra spider grows to no more than 7mm (c. ¼ inch) long and females tend to be slightly larger than males.
Apart from its distinctive black and white colouration the most noticeable feature of this spider are its large eyes. Eyesight plays a vital part in the life of a zebra spider, and the species is thought to have among the best eyesight of any arthropod… a group that encompasses insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and other small animals like centipedes and millipedes.