This colorful spider had not been recorded previously in Pennsylvania. However, it has been identified in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and ten other states, more prominently in the eastern states. This particular record is from State College, Pennsylvania. P. aurantius probably ranges from Delaware to Nebraska and south to Florida and Arizona.
Paraphidippus aurantius is quite variable in appearance, owing somewhat to the iridescent scales that appear as different colors depending on the observer’s point of view. Additionally, the color of some of the markings can range from a light golden brown to white.
The female has a band of light-colored scales extending from the eyes around the lateral margins of the cephalothorax and also around the sides of the abdomen. The dorsal surfaces of both the cephalothorax and abdomen are a light reddish-brown with iridescent green scales. The eyes are surrounded by a patch of black scales. The abdomen has four pair of white spots—the third pair elongated laterally—and orange spots midway on the sides of the abdomen. The legs are brown, with the first pair having black bands. Males are much darker, which makes the abdominal spots stand out while the orange spots are harder to see. Females are 8 to 12 millimeters long, while males 7 are 10 millimeters in length.
Little is known of this spider’s life history. It is found in both rural and suburban wooded locations and most often observed in the fall when crawling on the exterior or interior of buildings. It shelters within a silken retreat that is created in a folded leaf.
As with other jumping spiders, this species is most likely not medically important.
Authored by: Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate
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