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Bold Jumper Spider

Phidippus audax

The jumping spiders, as a rule, are relatively small, compact hunting spiders. They have very good eyesight and can pounce on their victims from a great distance. Spiders in the genus Phidippus are the largest-bodied of the Salticids. Phidippus audax, the most commonly encountered jumping spider in and around Pennsylvania homes, is found from Canada and the Atlantic Coast states west to California.

Description

bold-jumper.jpg

P. audax is a black, hairy spider measuring 8 to 19 millimeters for the females and 6 to 13 millimeters for the males. There is a pattern of white, yellow, or orange spots on the top of the abdomen (orange on the younger spiders), and the chelicerae frequently have an iridescent green hue. The males have “eyebrows,” or tufts of hairs over the eyes. Occasionally, white bands extend back from the rear pair of eyes. The eyes located at the center of the front end of the cephalothorax are by far the largest and aid the spiders in capturing prey.

Life History

These spiders overwinter as nearly mature, or penultimate, individuals. In April or May, they finish maturing and mate, with eggs being deposited in June and July. The P. audax female suspends her eggs in a silken sheet within her retreat. In contrast to many other hunting spiders, jumping spiders require daylight to hunt their prey. They can be found on windowsills, tree trunks, and deck railings; under stones; and in other locations during daylight hours.

Medical Importance

The chances of being bitten by P. audax are slim to none. These spiders are difficult for collectors to catch, and they appear fearful of humans. Addition- ally, their habit of hunting during the daytime helps reduce the number of human bites. Information concerning the effect of these bites suggests pain, itching, swelling, and redness with a duration of 1 to 2 days.

Authored by: Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate
March 2002 Revised 2015

Reference

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Ubick, D., P. Paquin, P. E. Cushing, and V. Roth, eds. 2005. Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual. American Arachnological Society. 377 pp.

Vetter, R. S., and P. Kirk Visscher. 1998. “Bites and Stings of Medically Important Venomous Arthropods.” International. J. Derm. 37: 481–496.

Vetter, R. S., et al. 2006. “Verified Bites By Yellow Sac Spiders (Genus Cheiracanthium) in the United States and Australia: Where Is the Necrosis?” Amer. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 74(6): 1,043–1,048.

Vetter, R. S., and G.K. Isbister. 2008. “Medical aspects of spider bites.” Annu. Rev. Entomol. 53: 409–429.

 

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