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?
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
anonymous on September 27, 2015:
I have one in my Aloe, I'm in Huntington Beach ;)
anonymous on September 03, 2012:
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
anonymous on April 30, 2012:
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.
eSCKWID on April 07, 2012:
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.
TrentAdamsCA on February 01, 2012:
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.
jadehorseshoe on December 23, 2011:
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on March 17, 2011:
Stopped by to give a shamrock blessing to this lens. It will be featured on The Best Insect Pages on Squidoo.
anonymous on February 03, 2011:
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.
anonymous on May 19, 2010:
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!
sheriangell on May 19, 2010:
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.........
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on May 19, 2010:
Nice photos. It's great that you share them.
I like photographing spiders and webs too. Here's my article on it: http://www.ehow.com/how_2199177_spider-web-photos....