When we think about animal geniuses, arthropods don’t usually top the list of usual suspects. However, one genus of jumping spiders, Portia, includes spiders who have a gift: they can devise hunting strategies and make decisions. Portia makes their livings by hunting other spiders. These eight-legged geniuses do not simply attack; they appear to make decisions based on what another spider might know about their world. If so, they express something called “a theory of mind,” the ability to understand the world from another’s perspective.
Jumping Spider and its Theory of Mind
Jumping spiders may be the only spiders that cross the ick-barrier that so many of us feel about spiders, thus entering the realm of ‘cute’ and ‘beautiful’ animals.