Bold Jumping Spider
Phidippus audax is a common jumping spider of North America. It is commonly referred to as the bold jumping spider or bold jumper. The spider belongs to the genus Phidippus, a group of jumping spiders easily identified both by their relatively large size and their iridescent chelicerae. Like other jumping spiders, due to their large, forward-facing eyes, they have excellent stereoscopic vision. This aids them when stalking prey, and facilitates visual communication with potential mates during courting.
Phidippus audax varies widely in size and coloration. Adult males range from 4–15 millimeters in body length, with an average of 8 mm. Adult females range from 4–18 millimeters in body length, with an average of 11 mm. 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. However, in some parts of Florida it is common for adults to have yellow, orange, or red spots. The chelicerae (mouthparts) are a bright, metallic green or blue.
Phidippus audax have four pairs of specialized eyes that allow them to see nearly 360° around them.
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. However, they do use webbing when nursing eggs or sheltering. They also use spider silk as a tether when jumping for prey or evading predators. They are common in fields and grasslands, and are frequently seen on fences, exterior walls, and gardens as well. Many jumping spiders seem to prefer flat vertical surfaces, likely because it enables them to spot and chase down roaming insects with ease.
This species is common in extreme southern Canada, throughout the United States and parts of northern Mexico, plus Cuba and Puerto Rico, and has been introduced to Hawaii and the Nicobar Islands.
P. audax is the type species for the genus Phidippus. The species name is derived from the Latin word audax meaning "daring, audacious".
Like most spiders, P. audax rarely bites humans. While symptoms of a bite may vary, the most likely symptoms are pain, itching, swelling and redness with a duration of 1 to 2 days.
As of 2021, this species is the State Spider of New Hampshire. The designation came after a campaign by a class in Hollis, New Hampshire, to designate a state spider.
- David Edwin Hill: Portrait of feeding female Phidippus audax — Video - Daring Jumping Spider Reference quality diagnostic photos - Diagnostic drawings - Pictures of P. audax (free for noncommercial use)