Habitat and Global Regions of the Portia Spider

The Portia spider is unique among spiders in that it eats other spiders as a regular part of its diet. This means that it makes its home in the web of its prey. The Portia has developed very sophisticated hunting strategies to lure and capture its prey (spiders who often mistake it for prey). Its hunting strategies vary slightly according to the habitat and global region. The Portia Spider can be found in the rainforests of Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and other parts of South East Asia. They can be found among rocks, buttress, roots, bark or foliage. In a dryer habitat they can be found in rockpile outcrops and cave entrances. In all global regions they tend to lay their eggs in leaves suspended from webs.

In Australia the Portia is known as the "Jumping Spider." They can be found in the region of Northern Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.

Behaviour of Portia Spider in Australia

The Jumping Spider in the Australian territory of Queensland is also known to scavenge in addition to hunting its prey. It will typically eat insects caught in the web of its prey. If it uses its own web to lure spiders it will usually conceal its palps. Portia spiders in Queensland use a variety of hunting strategies (more so than in other regions). The females in this area are also considered more efficient hunters than males. For example, they are more likely to take down prey much larger than themselves than males. Compared to other global areas, the (female) Portia in Queensland, Australia also differ in hunting behaviour. They are more likely to vibrate the web when hunting, more likely to use cryptic stalking and usually swoops. Their walks are much slower and more exaggerated than other areas. In Queensland the Portia are less likely to jump than in other regions. In the Northern Territory they do not employ special tactics against other jumping spiders and hence are less efficient.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka the Portia more readily pursues other jumping spiders than in Queensland, Australia, so they are more effective at it.

Behavioural difference according to habitat

The different habitat condition under which this spider lives often determines the kind of web it has as well as its hunting strategy. In habitats of low levels of ambient light, such as tree trunks, boulders and ledges, and so are more likely to capture prey and less likely to be hunted by visual predators.

In the Philippines, they tend to rely on trial and error when hunting. They find different ways to vibrate the prey's web and lure it in. They also spit a sticky gum on their prey which effectively immobilises them. In global areas they tend to steal eggs of other spiders.