Sassacus cyaneus (Hentz, 1846) - Jumping Spider
Formerly Agassa, this species was reassigned to Sassacus by Richman. Some members of the present genus, including Sassacus cyaneus are thought to be beetle mimics. While mimicry is not uncommon among salticids, ants are the typical model. S. cyaneus, however, most resembles a leaf beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Richman published a record of S. cyaneus in association with the leaf beetle Graphops, (see link below to Murray's image of Graphops curtipennis). While the resemblance of the spider and the beetle is remarkable, mimicry may or may not be operative here. There is another aspect of S. cyaneus, however, about which there is little or no debate. S. cyaneus is, in a word wonderous. A self-powered, sparkling, miniaturized gem that is a joy to behold. Certainly this marvel is deserving of a common name. And so I propose "Sassy-assed Jumping Spider" and trust the proper committee will consider the matter.
Tom Murray image of Graphops curtipennis
Massachusetts - First State / County Records
- ♦ *MCZ - Homalattus septentrionalis - Middlesex (Cambridge) - Keyserling, 1885: 515, pl. 13, f. 19; record #23030
- ♦ **? - Homalattus c. - Massachusetts - Peckham & Peckham, 1888: 86, pl. 1, f. 64, pl. 6, f. 64
- ♦ J. H. Emerton Coll. / MCZ - S. c. - Norfolk (Sharon), October 1902 - catalog #27568
- ♦ J. H. Emerton Coll. - F. W. Grigg / MCZ - S. c. - Plymouth (Kingston), September 1914 - catalog #27583
- ♦ MCZ - S. c. - Nantucket (Tom Nevers Pond), June 1929 - catalog #27567
- ♦ USNMNH? - S. c. - Barnstable - Richman, 2008: 33
- ♦ Connecticut - Agassa cyanea - Kaston, 1948: 471, 13 records
*This specimen is in the MCZ collection and seems to be the one designated by Kyserling as the Holotype. Unfortunately there is no entry on the record for either the date or collector.
The location data is given as
USA, Massachusetts, Middlesex Cambridge
**Included in the Peckhams (1888) description is the statement
Count Keyserling has kindly sent us a specimen of his H. septentrionalis and we find it identical with cyaneus. This specimen is likely the basis for the Peckhams including Massachusetts
among the locales for the present species.
Richman D. B. 2008. Revision of the jumping spider genus Sassacus (Araneae, Salticidae, Dendryphantinae) in North America. Jour. of Arach. 36:26-48.