Hentzia mitrata (Hentz, 1846) - Jumping Spider
Nicholas Marcellus Hentz (1797-1856), considered the father of American arachnology was born in
France and came to America in 1816. While he made his living as a
teacher and briefly attended medical lectures at Harvard, his passion was the study
of insects and spiders. A short biographical sketch based on his son's recollections relates that, Although of a genial, affectionate, and generous nature, his peculiarly nervous organization made him often morbidly sensitive and suspicious, and a prey to groundless fears, which not a little marred his enjoyment of life. In addition Hentz habitually and without regard to circumstance would drop on his knees, press his hands to his forehead, and raising his eyes heavenward, remain in more or less protracted prayer. Despite apparent psychological burdens, Hentz produced the first important works on American spiders. A brief look at the nomenclature of North American spiders indicates the significance of his contribution. While most of Hentz's collections are lost, his original papers as well as his collected works were published by the Boston Society of Natural History (BSNH). Hentz biographical sketch continues on the Hentzia palmarum species page.