Friday, July 31, 2009

Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax)

click for large

Phidippus audax is a common jumping spider of North America. It is commonly referred to as the Bold Jumping Spider. The average size of adults ranges from roughly 1/2 to 3/4 inches in body length, though I have found several in Texas around the 1" mark.

These spiders are typically black with a pattern of spots and stripes on their abdomen and legs. Often these spots are orange, yellow or red tinted in juveniles, turning white as the spider matures.

The Bold Jumping Spider belongs to the genus Phidippus, a group of jumping spiders easily identified both by their relatively large size and their iridescent chelicerae. In the case of P. audax, these chelicerae are a bright, metallic green or blue.

These spiders have been known to jump up to 50 times their own body length, and the male may jump away during mating if the female approaches too quickly.

Like other jumping spiders, due to their large, forward facing eyes, they have very good stereoscopic vision. This aides them when stalking prey, and allows some visual communication with others of their species, such as courting 'dances'.

While this guy may look very menacing, he's really only about 3/8 inch long. A curious little bugger too.

Raynox DCR-150 and Raynox DCR-250, stacked, and mounted on my Panasonic Lumix FZ8.


  1. I have had my Bold Jumping Spider for about a month now and it has been amazing watching him/her hunt the flies that I feed it. My spider is about the size of a dime with white spots, does that mean it won't get any bigger? Today I just caught another Bold Jumping Spider in my backyard and it's about the size of a quarter, or a bit smaller. How would I be able to identify which one is male and which one is female?
    ~Spider Girl

    1. did you catch it??? I wanted to catch it, but I was afraid it would jump on me or bite me! lol

  2. An easy way to tell is that the mature males will have some white banding on the legs and possibly body. The palps on the males will probably also be larger and puffier.

  3. Thanks for the helpful info, sankax.
    ~Spider Girl

  4. I encountered a spider yesterday 11/3/11 that I have never seen in MN before and I have lived here all my 40+ years. I live in MPLS.and this cheeky rascal was sauntering along the baseboard in my ferret room. It was heading towards an area that I was cleaning and I told it to shoo the other direction. It stopped and backed up into a corner and climed up the door frame to my eye level (approx 3 ft) and appeared to survey this strange creature that had the audacity to impead it's progress. We considered one another for a few minutes. This spider was solid black with a robust, compact body that had a small ocher spot on it's back. It had stout,shortish legs that appeared to be furry, especially the two front legs. It's total size was approx 3/4" to 1" I could see two small brilliant turquoise spots in what I thought was the front region of it's 'face'. After it had judged me to be of no consequence it returned to the floor and resumed it's suicidal trek around the perimeter of the room, imperviuos to the dangers a room full of ferrets posed. Later that evening, I spotted this same (I assume) facinating spider dangling from the ceiling in the bathroom at my eye level as if to say "Hello. Remember me?" My husband was in the tub (luckily without his glasses). As soon as I looked at this spider it climed back up to the ceiling and meandered around over my head, pausing often. I think the it has a well developed sense of self preservation because it kept the light fixture between it's self and my husbands line of sight. Could you tell me what kind of spider it might be and if it could survive outside since my husband has requested that all uninvited visitors members be ejected to the outdoors less they incure his wrath.

  5. It was most definitely a jumping spider in the Phidippus genus. They are the only spiders I know offhand that have the brilliant turquoise chilicerae. Generally they have white spots on their abdomen, but I have seen many with red, yellow or orange spots instead, usually in juveniles.

    Like most spiders in Minnesota, it will not survive the winter. It has probably already laid an egg case a month or more ago and was just looking for a warm spot to live out the rest of it's short days.

    They are harmless to people, and actually seem to be very curious little buggers, as you noted.

  6. Oddly enough I just caught one of these in my home. Was thinking he was a mutant jumping spider or something this guy is about the size of a dime. Def has some white banding on the legs so I am thinking its a he.