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Daring Jumping Spider: Phidippus Audax
A Common Jumping (Salticidae) Spider
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.
Poll: How Do You Feel About Spiders? - Friends or Foes?
When I find a spider in my house, I...
HD Video of Phidippus Audax - By user "terser" on YouTube
Expert Information on Phidippus Audax - Learn more from entomolygists, zoologists, biologists
- Daring Jumping Spider - UN Entomology
Good photos and easy-to-read article by University of Nebraska's Department of Entomology professor Jim Kalisch.
- Phidippus audax Information - Animal Diversity Web
Detailed scientific article compiled by zoology graduate students at UMich, with bibliography.
- The Daring Jumping Spider - CSU Garden Pests website
Short article by Colorado Master Gardener Judy Sedbrook at Colorado State University.
- Spider Pictures: Daring Jumping Spider
Excellent amateur article with good photos of Phidippus audax.
- Phidippus audax - Jumping to Unfortunate Conclusions
Dermatologist article on the behavior and bite of this common jumping spider.
- Bold Jumper - Excellent Photos
Four high-quality photos of Phidippus Audax in Irvine, California.
© 2010 Ellen Brundige