Cute Jumping Spiders: Why are they so Friendly and Adorable?

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30 – Second Summary

🔎 Where to find?: Tropical regions and dense forests, found in 350+ countries & islands.
💵 Jumping Spider costs: $8 – $60
🍞 Yearly Food Cost: $50 – $140
🪟 Cost of Enclosure: $5 – $50
🕷️ Are they friendly?: Yes
☠️ Are they Poisonous?: No

Captured by Johann Schutte | Location: North Island, Gisborne, New Zealand

Jumping Spiders, as the name suggests, are adept at not just hopping, but truly jumping! Carrying the scientific name -Phidippus regius – Jumping Spiders are essentially small to medium-sized, brightly colored, furry spiders. These spiders belong to the family Salticidae wherein “Salta” means “jump”. Fascinatingly, Salticid spiders are known to come in a wide array of sizes, colors, and patterns. In fact, there are around 3,000 known species of jumping spiders from the family Salticidae, generally ranging from 0.25 to 0.5 inches in length.

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Jumping Spiders Truly Jump?🤔

Source: By Stephen Tafra | Location: Australia

The jumping sprees of these cute furry beings is not just something they do for fun. Jumping spiders literally pounce on their prey, which makes it easier for them to startle and capture it with ease.

Wondering how far can a jumping spider jump? Well, jumping spiders have been known to jump anywhere from 6 to a whopping 50 times their body length!

But, how do jumping spiders jump? Interestingly, jumping spiders do not have any special leg muscles that help them leap. Instead, they have an intriguing mechanism. When a jumping spider wants to soar high, it simply contracts its muscles such that the blood flow to its legs is tremendously increased, which in turn, helps its legs fully extend thereby sending the spider into a jumping spree!

This female jumping spider (Hyllus semicupreus) successfully captured a grasshopper that is much larger and stronger than she is. 

Small Jumping spider killing a Big Grasshopper | Source: Wikipedia

Fun Fact – Jumping Spiders are known as the Cats of the Spider World! Why? Because they are capable of stalking their prey stealthily, and wait until it is within their range of jumping. Once they are at a comfortable distance, they pounce upon the prey, and that too with unmatched accuracy. In fact, it is very rare for them to miss the prey.

By Егор Камелев Captured using Sony ILCE-7RM2

Jumping Spider Webs 🕸️

Jumping Spiders are distinct in the way that does not build webs as conventional spiders do, but instead weaves a silken shelter which they use as a hideout place! These silk retreats are built by female jumping spiders and are extensively used for the safekeeping of the eggs until it’s time for the spiderlings to hatch. In some instances, these spiders make use of their silk guidewires to save themselves from falling off, usually when they are hunting.  

Jumping Spiders Eyesight 👀

Yet another distinguishing factor of jumping spiders is their set of 8 eyes and their excellent eye-sight. We call it distinguishing, because web-making spiders are all completely blind, and are entirely dependent on touch as their main sense. While the extraordinary eyesight of jumping spiders help them find their prey and pounce upon the same with incredible accuracy, their sight also plays a pivotal role in their courtship displays. In addition to their exceptionally colorful and vibrant bodies, jumping spiders use numerous displays in the form of movements and sounds to attract their potential mates.

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By Erik Karits | Location: Kehra, Harju County, Estonia

Adorable Spiders with Big Eyes 👀

Furry, with two big eyes at the center, with the remaining six eyes getting smaller, jumping spiders seem as if coming from an animated movie. Wildly active during the daytime, these spiders often come off as friendly! Trust us on this one. And if you don’t want to take our word for it, try extending your hand towards a jumping spider when you post once. Instead of running away or hiding, it will start looking at you with those big, beautiful eyes, and will only slowly back up. Even in case, it jumps at you as it would on a prey, to you it will all seem like a cute friendly gesture.

Disclaimer – Kindly excuse the seemingly excessive use of words like cute, adorable and flurry, because that is precisely what these spiders are. Wait till you meet one, and you’ll know what we are talking about!

Jumping Spiders or Dancing Spiders?👯

Remember how we spoke of the elaborate mating displays of the jumping spiders? Turns out, its not just any random movement, but males of the species actually perform a dance to attract the attention of female jumping spiders. Again…How cute is that?

These dances comprise of the males beating their abdomens on the ground such that their legs are in the air in a waving fashion. Apparently, some steps of the dance also include the males tapping their feet on the ground. However, this action is too rapid for the human eye to catch. And guess what! These are the simpler dances of the lot. The most extensive dance is performed by the peacock jumping spider, which brings in a brightly colored fan-like extension for display while stomping and tapping, and dancing to attract its potential mate!

Where to Find Jumping Spiders?

The members of the family Salticidae are commonly found in tropical regions, and most thrive in forests or dense vegetation which experiences a temperate climate! That said, depending on the type of jumping spiders, they can survive almost anywhere, except of course, the Arctic and the Antarctic regions. While they are known to thrive in areas with good vegetation or trees, these spiders can also live in open areas such as fields, deserts rainforests, and even mountainous terrains, and if you get lucky even in your own front gardens or backyard!

Let us learn more about three of the most commonly found Jumping Spiders in the United States and surrounding areas.

#1 Phidippus audax – Bold Spiders

Source: A bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax) on a begonia maculata wightii houseplant | Photo by: Timothy Dykes

Often known as bold or daring spiders, they get their name from their fearlessness in attacking prey that is larger than their own bodies. In fact, the specific epithet of their scientific name ‘Audax’ comes from the word audacity.

They can be easily identified, as they are mostly black in color with a few white spots or striking patterns on their legs and abdomen. The younger bold spiders are characterized by orange sports instead of white. Their large watery eyes, their hairy bodies and their bright metallic blue or green iridescent chelicerae are some of the more distinguishing features of these spiders.

Where to find them? Phidippus audax is extremely common in Canada and the United States and can be spotted with ease.

#2 Phidippus regius – Regal Spider

A female Phidippus regius (Regal Jumping Spider) on cork bark | By Christopher Cassidy

Known to be one of the biggest jumping spiders growing up to a whopping 0.87 inches, the regal jumping spiders feature large eyes hairy bodies, and blue-violet iridescent chelicerae much like the phidippus audax. While the males of this species are black in color with white spots and patterns, the females flaunt gray or slightly orange-colored bodies.

Where to find the Regal Spider?  

Jumping Spider Phidippus regius is generally found in open areas on plants, trees or walls so that they can easily locate insects and other prey from above. Southeastern USA, as well as the Caribbean basin, are two places where these are most commonly found.

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#3 Hyllus diardi – Heavy Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider, Female Hyllus diardi. | By Wynand Uys

The Hyllus diardi is a jumping spider that is known for its heavy-built and unusually large bodies. The male-heavy jumping spider can grow up to 0.4 inches in length, while the female can achieve a body length of up to 0.6 inches. With a reputation of being large, the fact that their cuteness quotient is super high, making these spiders highly sought after. Simple in their appearance, these spiders have hey have a grayish-white body, and black eyes. They can be fairly easily spotted thanks to features like hairy legs and large tendering eyes.

Where to find Hyllus diardi?

The Hyllus diardi primarily loves tropical habitats, and can therefore be largely found in Asian countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, and even China.

Are Jumping Spiders Friendly?

Unlike most spiders which have quite a bad rep, jumping spiders enjoy a better perception. They have eight small legs, furry bodies, big watery eyes, they dance and they jump towards you when approached rather than running away! So, what do you think? Aren’t those the traits of a cute, friendly figure. Well, that’s your answer right there! Jumping spiders are friendly! Moreover, these spiders are rather curious, and carefully observe the humans around them, before approaching a hideout. They tend to shy away from direct contact and are generally, not aggressive towards humans – making them appear adorable and sociable!

But are they poisonous? Yes, they are. At least technically. When feeling attacked, they do spit out venom in an attempt to paralyze their prey. Fortunately, for us humans this venom is rather harmless. The reason being its significantly small quantity, which isn’t capable of harming the fairly large human body.

We hope that you now know all about jumping spiders, their most commonly found types, places to find them, and how friendly and approachable they are!

Frequently Asked Questions about Jumping Spiders

Are jumping spiders dangerous to humans?

More often than not, jumping spiders aren’t harmful or dangerous to humans. They only ump on humans or bite them when they feel threatened or when the concerned human tries to squish them between their fingers. Even when they attempt to bite, they simply cannot break the human skin even after multiple attempts. Moreover, their bites aren’t as painful. In addition, their venom is not poisonous to humans and can be easily processed by stomach acid.

Can I catch a jumping spider?

Yes, but you have to make sure that you catch them off guard. A simple way to do so is by whacking a vegetation where the spiders may be hiding. The sudden whack will make the spiders fall, without giving them ample time to create a silk thread to hold them by. You can then easily catch them!

Can jumping spiders harm pet dogs or pet cats?

Not nearly. Jumping spiders will often shy away from your pets, and run away from them, Until they feel threatened, they will not jump or bite your pet. Even if they do, their bite or their venom will not harm your pet in anyway.

How can I tell the difference between a jumping spider and a black widow?

It is true that jumping spiders and black widows are both very similar in appearance – especially due to their black bodies and comparatively short legs! However, if you want to spot the difference between the two you should lookout for the colored hourglass-shaped mark on the abdomen of the black widow. Moreover, the black widow is strikingly black, while the color of the jumping spider may range from tan to brown to black, with green, yellow and even blue markings. Yet another distinction between the two is the dense, bright-colored hairs on the jumping spiders.

Should I be worried if my child accidentally swallows a jumping spider?

No, unless the venom of the spider has entered the bloodstream of the child there is nothing to be worried about. If the child swallows the spider, the arachnid complete with its venom will be broken down and digested in a few hours’ time.

Which is the most colorful spider?

Peacock jumping spiders are considered to be the most colorful in the family Salticidae, thanks to their stunningly multi-hued fans which they use to demonstrate their willingness to mate with a female counterpart.

How big can jumping spiders get?

Adult jumping spiders have been known to grow up to 0.75 inches in length!

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