Spiders may be some of the most misunderstood creatures on the planet. For the most part, they just want to eat pesky bugs and mind their own business. Instead, they have to deal with screaming, irrational humans. Whether you're a spider lover or you live in fear of the eight-legged arthropods, you'll find this BBC slo-mo video on the world's biggest jumping spider fascinating to watch.
The BBC Earth Unplugged YouTube channel published the video Wednesday. It goes into great detail on Hyllus giganteus and the unusual way it manages to leap about despite not having very strong legs.
The world's biggest jumping spider is a tiny flower compared with the goliath bird-eating spider, a member of the tarantula family that can sport a leg span of up to 11 inches (28 centimeters), or the giant huntsman spider, which can reach up to 12 inches (30 centimeters). If you're feeling a little squicked out, then just remind yourself that the "gigantic" jumping spider is less than an inch long (about 2.5 centimeters).
Jumping spiders are pretty cute as far as spiders go. The close-up shots in the video reveal a fuzzy-looking body, big eyes, and dark markings on the head that look like thick eyebrows. Groucho Marx would be envious.
The spider doesn't just leap into space and hope for the best. It uses two silk threads as a safety line attached to the surface it's jumping from. BBC Earth reports that this helps to stabilize the jump. Arachnologists think the issue of weak legs is likely overcome by the spider increasing the blood pressure in its legs when it leaps.
The slo-mo footage is a wonder to behold. We see the spider from various angles, including an underside view that makes it look like it's flying Superman-style, legs stretched out in front. That pretty much makes Hyllus giganteus the little furry superhero of the spider world, able to leap wide spaces in a single bound.