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Daring Jumping Spider: Phidippus Audax

Updated on January 14, 2015

A Common Jumping (Salticidae) Spider

About the size of a thumbnail, this spider was climbing up my dining room wall. Based on web research, I am guessing that it is Phidippus Audax, the "Bold" or "Daring Jumping Spider."

I've supplemented my own photos with links to other good Daring Jumping Spider photos, videos, and expert Phidippus audax webpages by entomologists.

My Daring Jumping Spider Photos

Phidippus Audax in Orange County, California

There's a lot of web visible because I was corralling the little guy on one part of the wall, so he kept retracing his steps without stopping to gather up all the slack. He was using it as a safety line. Sometimes he'd stop and crane his head up to look at me.

A Common North American Spider

The "Daring Jumping Spider" at a Glance

Scientific name: Phidippus audax.

"Phidippus" is Greek for "sparing of horses", the name of one of the grandsons of Hercules who fought in the Trojan War, but possibly this was just the name of the scientist who classified it. "Audax" is Latin for "bold, daring."

Range: North America, including Canada. Most common on the east coast of the United States, but mine was in Orange County, California, as is this Phidippus audax sighting in the city of Irvine.

Description: Between 5-15 mm (up to 3/4 an inch) in length. Very hairy. Dark brown to black. Recognizable by its eye configuration: four tiny ones on the top of its head (hard to see without a microscope) and four on the front of its head, with the two middle ones distinct and large, creating a "face." It also has iridescent green-blue jaws (chelicerae), and a white spot on the top of the abdomen. Abdomen also has smaller white markings.

Behavior: It's a hunter that likes to crawl on vertical surfaces using a line of thread as a safety line. It stalks and pounces on small insects. It may jump if startled. It has extremely good eyesight for a spider, and may sit back on its haunches and raise its head to look at you. I noticed mine raising its two front legs and feeling its way (or was it some kind of display?)

Hazards/benefits: It eats several kinds of pests like fleas, weevils, tobacco budworms, cotton leafworms, so it's helpful for gardening and pest control. It's described as aggressive, but I think that's only towards its prey; it simply moved away when touched. Its bite is not dangerous; it may cause a small, painful bump.

My Video of Daring Jumping Spider - Not exciting, but here's how it walks.

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HD Video of Phidippus Audax - By user "terser" on YouTube

© 2010 Ellen Brundige


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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      Nice photos. It's great that you share them.

      I like photographing spiders and webs too. Here's my article on it:

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 7 years ago

      Ick! It took some courage, but I stayed and read the lens. Very useful info and you did a great job with the photos. I hope I don't dream about your little friend tonight.........

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Your pics are wonderful. I used to be really afraid of spiders but since I've been a Mom of a boy, all that changed ; ) We get tons of Tarantulas here where I live. They're cute!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Awesome pictures! I've never been bothered by these little guys and maybe a little fascinated by there jumping. They look more scary when enlarged! Glad they are little guys.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Stopped by to give a shamrock blessing to this lens. It will be featured on The Best Insect Pages on Squidoo.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      GREAT Lens!

    • TrentAdamsCA profile image

      TrentAdamsCA 5 years ago

      I was captivated by the "iridescent green-blue jaws." As a child, I was the spider wrangler, responsible for removing spiders from any place my mother could see them. Here near the north coast in California we have some big wolf spiders. I named the one living outside the patio door last year. Yeah, I look them up when I find one I haven't met before. You get bonus points for finding one named Phiddipus, like the grandson of Hercules. That's delightful.

    • profile image

      eSCKWID 5 years ago

      Found one of these guys living in one of my Sagos, it was so pretty! Most spiders give me the creeps, but I always thought jumping spiders were kind of cute.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have one of these in my office. I generally try to squash spiders, but this little guy is beautiful. He'll crawl all over my keyboard and monitor. Appears almost curious, and generally won't run if I slowly put my hand up to it.. Very creep looking, but it's probably eating the nasty bugs, so we peacefully coexist.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Me and my daughter just found one of these on a storage bin on our patio. We're going to set him free in the abandoned golf course behind our house. The green fangs were just really interesting

    • profile image

      anonymous 21 months ago

      I have one in my Aloe, I'm in Huntington Beach ;)

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