Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax)

click for large

Phidippus audax, my favorite species of Spider. I really love them, in a weird Steve Irwin kind of way.

Phidippus audax are a common jumping spider of North America. They are commonly referred to as the Bold Jumping Spider. The average size of adults ranges from roughly 3/8 to 3/4 inches in body length, though I have found several in Texas around the 1" mark. Yes, body length of 1". It's true, everything is bigger in Texas.

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. I think they look like a smiley face.

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. From the pic above, you know what chelicerae are now.

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-250 mounted on my Panasonic Lumix FZ8.


  1. AWESOME blog. I found it while looking for pictures of Phidippus audax to compare to the one I photographed in Minneapolis last weekend (in the woods by where the Mississippi hits Lake Street)! Check him out here (under the artwork):

    Where do you do your collecting? I'd love to find more jumpers to photograph. I just use a crummy little point and shoot with a macro mode, but it sure is a lot of fun!

  2. what do they eat? we found one in our house. also, how do we identify male/female? thanks!

  3. They eat anything a normal spider would eat. Crickets, bugs, caterpillars, flies, butterflies, pretty much anything they can catch.

    As far as sexing them, the males are generally more colorful and patterned than the females. This one is a male, you can tell by the leg stripes. The females are also quite a bit larger than the males. The males palps (which aren't visible here, as they are actually pointing at the camera) will be larger and more swollen looking than the female's.

  4. I Just found one in my house. Its so cute. I live in Texas and was very surprised to see one.

  5. yeah, I found one where I Lived in Orange, its has white spot on his legs and when I shine the light I saw his eyes were blue.

  6. Cool, I found one in my school garden. She/He is very active. The Kindergarteners loved looking at the bluish mouth area. Gonna put it back in the garden.

  7. found one in my home.on my kitchen table and im located in san diego california. where do thies spiders realy come from?

  8. I had one that took a ride on my windsheild this morning in Illinois. It was fun watching him walk up and down the windsheild looking in the window.

  9. I have a 3 year old and I am wondering if they are dangerous.

  10. I found one on the screen porch. I stunned and fed her a large fly despite being slightly arachnophobic. She was kinda cute and seemed to enjoy the little snack.