Jumping

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The jumping spider scuttles along the edge of my bag, pauses, stares up at us with small black eyes. I stare back, entranced by the hairs on its body that is only slightly bigger than our fingernail.

I put a piece of paper next to it, trying to coax it on; instead it hurries further up my bag and then onto my camera. So much for photographs. Instead I look at it carefully. Jumping spiders have the best vision of any spider in the world, though generalizing them, 13% of all spider species as they are, would be folly. This one’s four eyes are perfect, curious orbs. It shivers briefly as a breeze passes; I shield it with a hand, not wanting to release it just yet. With its large jaws relative to its body, it looks like it has a beard, an old, tiny creature. The first jumping spider fossils are dated to 66 million years ago. Perhaps my judgement isn’t far off the mark.

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