|Adult female Phidippus audax|
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.
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'.
Like most jumping spiders, P. audax tends to prefer relatively open areas to hunt in, as they actively seek and stalk prey and do not build webs to catch food. They do use webbing, however, only when laying eggs or to hide. They also use spider silk as a 'lifeline' when jumping for prey or evading predators.
They are common in fields and grasslands, but are frequently seen on fences, exterior walls, and gardens as well. Many jumping spiders seem to prefer flat vertical surfaces, likely due to the fact that it enables them to spot and chase down roaming insects with ease.
This species is common in southeastern Canada, eastern and central United States and parts of northern Central America, and has been introduced to Hawaii and the Nicobar Islands. It was previously uncommon through the Western United States, and the California Coast, though sightings have now become commonplace in Southern California, and the Sierra foothills of Northern California which is not represented on the map. Other sightings include the Willamette Valley and Rogue Valley in Oregon and the Central Valley in California. One appears to have been recently found in the California Bay Area (San Jose).
Like most spiders, P. audax rarely bites humans. While symptoms of a bite may vary, the most likely symptoms are slight pain and localized redness of the skin.
- Ruppert, E.E.; Fox, R.S. & Barnes, R.D. (2004). Invertebrate Zoology (7th ed.). Brooks / Cole. pp. 571–584. ISBN 0-03-025982-7.
- "Tree of Life Web Project: Salticidae - Jumping Spiders".
- Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Department of Entomology > Bold Jumper Retrieved April 2012
- Entomology Department at the University of Arkansas
- Platnick, Norman I. (2009): The world spider catalog, version 9.5. American Museum of Natural History.
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