The Himalayan Jumping spider (Euophrys omnisuperstes), is on top of the world. Its scientific name translated means ‘standing above everything’. This spider who resides within the Himalayan mountain range is possibly the best contender for the title of ‘highest known permanent resident on the planet’.
Found regularly at elevations of up to 6,700 meters, or 22,000 feet on Mount Everest, this little spider has made it up to, and past Everest's base camp, and has been regularly seen by climbers waiting to habituate themselves to the altitude. How does a predator survive at an altitude where its prey does not? Its only food source are animals such as springtails and other small invertebrates brought up the mountains by wind currents. Because it is such an opportunistic hunter, it has developed fantastic eyesight - like many jumping spiders.
The species has not yet been assessed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, so we do not know how large the population is at present, or if there are any threats to this animal’s survival. However, it is assumed that with more and more people climbing Mount Everest, and the ever growing problem with rubbish building up, these spiders' future will depend on the impact that humans are having on their habitat.
Picture credits: Gavin Maxwell, Arkive, & NAMGYAL SHERPA/AFP/Getty Images