Monday, October 15, 2012

Daring Jumping Spider

Phidippus audax
Daring Jumping Spiders are common jumpers in North America. They are large for their family, and are predominantly black with some spots or stripes on the legs and abdomen. They also have incredibly shiny, metallic blue-green mouth parts (called Chelicerae).

Compared to body size, humans can't jump very far. Even the very best long jumpers only make it to distances of 3-4 times their height. The Daring Jumping Spider has us beat for sure! These little 2cm Spiders can leap between 10 and 50 times their own size!

So why do they need to make such gigantic jumps? Well, unlike many other Spiders, the Daring Jumpers do not build webs to hunt. They actively stalk their prey, using their amazing vision (their family has the sharpest eyesight among all Spiders). When they spot a meal, they leap after it from afar.

The spiders also use their great legs and eyes in courtship rituals. They are able to perform different dances, and can be seen from far away. Daring Jumping Spiders do actually build webs, but only for egg laying or shelter purposes.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : North America
Size : Length up to 20mm
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Arachnida -- Order : Araneae
Family : Salticidae -- Genus : Phidippus -- Species : P. audax

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