Habronattus mataxus Griswold, 1987 - Jumping Spider
Perhaps the most striking features of the male Habronattus mataxus are the wide fringe-like scales on leg I. 'Leaf-legged Habronattus' would be a fitting common name for this species. Metaxa, the Greek word for silk, was chosen for the specific epithet with reference to the decorative leg fringes. H. mataxus is a coastal plain spider found in Mexican and south Texas. The males and female shown here were found on South Padre Island (SPI), Texas. Their weed field home is in one of the few remaining undeveloped lots along the southern end of this popular beach. Over the last decade this section of SPI has been built out and ultimately up. The typical low lying profile of barrier beaches has been reshaped by high-rise hotels, condominium complexes, and shopping centers. All along the Gulf Coast from Marco Island in south Florida to SPI in Texas beachfront property has been overbuilt. Of course there is a risk for the landlords. The inevitable yet unpredictable tropical hurricanes and their attendant storm surges as well as long term changes in sea levels, that over the millenia have shaped these lands, have not abated. Meanwhile the jumping spiders are left with less and less land on which to continue their existence.