There are three different families of spider that hunt their prey by stalking them and then jumping on them, instead of luring prey into webs. The crab spiders, jumping spiders and wolf spiders all hunt in this way.
Crab spiders have bright coloring and get their name from the way they hold their front legs. Instead of spinning webs, crab spiders wait on leaves, flowers or other coloring for prey to wander by. Some can even change the color of their body so they can blend with their surroundings. They have tiny eyes and can’t see images very clearly until they are very close to them.
Jumping spiders are very small, but also stout. They have great distance vision for spiders, as they can pick up images clearly at a distance of four inches. Like crab spiders, they have bright coloring, and they also have bright markings that stand out, helping them during courtship rituals. You will often see them on interior walls of homes. They get their names from their method of catching their prey.
Wolf spiders, also called wandering spiders, hang out and wait to ambush unsuspecting prey, but they will also get out and do active hunting. Their eyes will reflect light, which makes them easy to see in the dark.
There are other spiders noted for their nasty methods of finding and disposing of prey. The water spider, also known as the diving bell spider, is generally found in lakes and ponds across Asia and Europe. They build a web under water that is shaped like a bell and holds air. The spider actually brings in air that it has stored on its abdomen. They catch water insects and then bring them into the web so they can finish them off.
The pirate spider not only has a cool name, but actually has a lot in common with Long John Silver. This variety can’t be bothered to build its own webs, but instead it will wander into webs that spiders from other species have built. There are other varieties of spider that will wander into other spiders’ webs and eat the prey that has been stunned and wrapped already, but pirate spiders will actually kill the owner of the web. If you ever get a chance to watch a pirate spider on the Discovery Channel, you can see it paralyze the owner of the web and then suck all of the meat off, one leg at a time.