When an animal is called reckless, you gotta love it. When an animal is called a Reckless Jumper, you have to think Evel Knievel. This little fellow (he is a he) is a Pelegrina proterva, a spider also known as the R.J. Like Evel Knievel, he can job several times his body length. Unlike Evel Knievel, he hasn't broken every bone in his body three or four times, and he doesn't need a motorcycle.
This is a variant of the P. proterva, a P. proterva niger, a little Black R. J. They are very, very small but make up for it in attitude. They are fearless, and when I saw him on a railing around a pier I stuck my finger by him. He reared up like they do when they are trying to make themselves look big, and then jumped three inches to my finger. That's about 10 times his body length. Think about jumping 60 feet and you'll see why I like these little dudes.
Proterva means "reckless" in Latin. It is a good name. There is also a Pelegrina audax, the Bold Jumper, audax meaning bold (think about audacious - audax is the root). Salticidae (the order of jumping spiders) are all pretty curious, and I think it's their curiousity that makes them so much fun. The walk up to you, you don't have to sneak after them.
Enjoying arachnids as much as odonates,
P.S. Going canoeing with the family tomorrow. Promise to post pics before the blog name changes to buglover. DB