Number 33 • December 6, 2004 • Jeffrey K. Barnes

Bold jumping spider
Order: Araneae:
Family: Salticidae
Genus and species: Phidippus audax (Hentz)

bold jumping spider bold jumping spider

The jumping spiders, Family Salticidae, are bold daytime hunters with acute vision. They are robust and hairy, and they have a distinctive eye arrangement. The front row of 4 eyes has a greatly enlarged median pair. The second and third rows are moved back on the cepahalothorax. The spiders leap onto their prey and overpower it.

The bold jumping spider, Phidippus audax, is a common predator of many crop pests, including boll weevils, spotted cucumber beetles, bollworms, cotton leaf worm, fall webworm, cotton fleahopper, lygus bugs, stink bugs, three-cornered alfalfa hoppers, leafhoppers, sorghum midges, mosquitoes.

This species is variable in size and color. Individuals average around 0.5 inch long, but some individuals in Texas and Mexico reach 0.8 inch. The spiders are mostly black, and typically the top of the abdomen has a rather large white to red central spot and a pair of smaller posterior spots. The chelicerae are metallic green. Juveniles often have orange abdominal spots that turn white at maturity.

Phidippus audax is a grassland and prairie species, but it is also found in open woodland, old fields, gardens, and around and in homes. The species is widespread from southeastern Canada and the eastern United States to Washington, New Mexico and eastern Mexico. It has been introduced into Southern California and Hawaii. It winters as subadults, matures and mates in the spring, and produces egg sacs under bark of logs in the summer.

Edwards, G. B. 2004. Revision of the jumping spiders of the genus Phidippus (Araneae: Salticidae). Occasional Papers of the Florida State Collection of Arthropods 11: 156 pages.