So, I went out in the back yard earlier to pick some lemons for a friend. As I opened the door a large spider dropped down from the noren. (half-length Japanese curtain) It was a jumping spider, but it was quite large. It could have fit on a quarter – if it tucked its toes, errr, claws in.
The spider swung over and attached itself the screen door. It swung around and eyed me. Here’s what it looked like:
annnnd a close-up:
Phidippus audax is a common jumping spider of North America. It is commonly referred to as the daring jumping spider, or bold jumping spider. The average size of adults ranges from roughly 13–20 millimetres (0.51–0.79 in) in length. They are typically black with a pattern of spots and stripes on their abdomen and legs. Often these spots are orange-tinted in juveniles, turning white as the spider matures. The spider belongs to the genus Phidippus, a group of jumping spiders easily identified both by their relatively large size and their iridescent chelicerae. In the case of P. audax, these chelicerae are a bright, metallic green or blue.
These spiders have been known to jump from 10 to 50 times their own body length by suddenly increasing the blood pressure in the third or fourth pair of legs, and the male may jump away during mating if the female approaches too quickly.
Like other jumping spiders, due to their large, forward-facing eyes, they have very good stereoscopic vision. This aids them when stalking prey, and allows some visual communication with others of their species, such as courting 'dances'. ~
Well! So the critter I saw today was definitely a Phidippus audax, probably a female. Her abdomen was large and round, and I imagined that she might be pregnant.
I herded her down the door and into an area where I would be unlikely to step on it. I like jumping spiders - at a respectful distance – and I hope she delivers lots of mosquito-eating babies.
Some people keep these guys as pets...
Published on Jun 29, 2015
A demonstration of how my female Hyllus Giganteus behaves while being handled. (Yes, this is a different species of jumping spider, but it acts about the same.)
Uploaded on Nov 15, 2009
This is about as large as jumping spiders get (~15mm or so body length) but adult females vary in size and some Phidippus species can easily exceed 20mm body length.
Music is a cover of The Ronettes' 1963 hit, "Be My Baby" written by Phil Spector.
OK, these people are all braver than me. These spiders aren’t vicious, but my experience is that they jump at you. They are smart, and when they look at you, you can tell they're working things out.
They have probably figured out that if they leap at the dumb human, she will hastily retreat and leave the spider in peace. So I don’t mess with them.
Now enjoy the antics of a Peacock Spider, to the tune of YMCA…
Published on Oct 6, 2013