What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Red Jumping Spider
September 17, 2009
Middle of September, ’09, Central Oklahoma, USA. Found in grassy back yard near structure while mowing the lawn. It really irritates me that I don’t know this one. When I was in grade school an entomology professor/uncle of mine had me catching these guys for a paper he was writing on them. I think that he was naming the species. Now it’s nearly 50 years later and he’s gone and I don’t remember if he ever told me what he was doing with these red jumping spiders. There seems to be a few closely related species that inhabit the same area and vary only slightly in the markings. I have always thought that this was an exceptionally aesthetic little creature. As memory serves they are very fond of woodpiles. I would love to get a common name for this one but considering the connection a species name would be golden. Thank you.
J.Hopkins
Central Oklahoma, USA

Red Jumping Spider

Red Jumping Spider

Dear J,
We are most touched by your letter.  Though we haven’t the time at the moment to try to research your request, we will post your letter and photo and perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply you with the answer.  We are linking to the BugGuide section on the Jumping Spider family Salticidae as well.  We believe your spider is in the Subfamily Dendryphantinae.

My research is indicating Phidippus apacheanus as the species. I still haven’t a clue as to who named it.
Thanks so much for your atttention.
J. Hopkins

Update from Karl
September 18, 2009
Hi Daniel:
It looks like another jumping spider in the genus Phidippus (Salticidae: Dendryphantinae: Dendryphantini), possibly P. clarus or P. pius, but most likely P. cardinalis (the Cardinal Jumping Spider). Based on the numerous photos on the Bugguide site, this looks like a male. Regards.
Karl

Thanks Karl,
I am familiar with P. cardinalis, we have them here, too.  Generally P. cardinalis is a bit
larger, esp females and has markings on the abdomen that are not present in
P. apacheanus.  P. cardinalis has a light line running around the for part of the abdomen and sometimes tiny light spots about middle dorsal of the abdomen.  I am not familiar with any markings on P. apacheanus, just the red head and abdomen and black legs.
I believe we have Phidippus clarus as well, or I have seen it somewhere, and it has a black cephalothorax as do many Phidippus, as well as bright markings on the abdomen.
Phidippus pius lacks the black legs but accounting for individual variation is a possibility but I think that pius is a larger species.
It is not my intent to be argumentative or mistrusting of the experts.  I’ve never taken a single class in entomology and only worked with a few relatives and friends that were entomologists.  However, to me it still looks like P. apacheanus and I have only a marginal degree of faith in that identification.
There is some speculation that P. apacheanus is a velvet ant mimic which are common here and sport the come color and pattern.  I have my doubts on this as the spiders seem to stay off of the ground where the wingless wasps frequent.  The spiders are about half the size as well.
I’ll attach a few links to Phidippus apacheanus pics:
. . . and thanks so very much.  Alternate opinions from interested and well-trained persons is highly valued.  It could well be that you know something that I don’t.  Thanks again,
J. Hopkins

Another Update from J. Hopkins
September 19, 2009
Sorry,
www.biosurvey.ou.edu/okwild/misc/rbjspi.html
bugguide.net/node/view/232814/bgimage
But I am seeing several examples where it appears that cardinalis and apacheanus have been misidentified one for the other.  I am not sure that some of the web posted identifications can be trusted.
Thanks again,
J. Hopkins

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5 Responses to Jumping Spider, but which one???

  1. lttlechkn says:

    Following your idea that this jumping spider is of the subfaily Dendryphantinae… could this little guy/gal be of the Genus Phidippus? I think this could be a match for the picture posted http://bugguide.net/node/view/334464/bgimage

    • bugman says:

      The genus Phidippus was our original suspicion, but we hadn’t the time to research this more closely yesterday. The photo that you have linked to looks quite close, but sadly, the image that was sent to us is lacking in clear details, so exact identification might not be possible. Even the specimen on BugGuide does not have an exact species identification. Many members of the genus Phidippus are variable in coloration. It is possible that J’s uncle was trying to identify a previously unidentified species or subspecies, but whether or not the proper protocol for new species recording occurred fifty years ago is not known. More carefully sifting through the images on BugGuide might actually reveal some answers.

  2. kkroeker says:

    Hi J. Hopkins:

    Please don’t underestimate yourself, or overestimate some of the ‘expert’ commentary on this site. Although there definitely are a number of experts that contribute regularly to this site, I am by no means one of them, certainly not when it comes to spiders anyway. What I have always liked about this site is that it encourages people to not only appreciate the bugs around them, but to learn more about them, and to pitch in when others have a question. We can all become ‘experts’ if work at it enough. You are the one who saw the spider and it appears you have done your homework, so go with your instincts.

    I should have added P. apacheanus (and perhaps others) to my short list of possibilities, but I missed it and you didn’t. Identifying an insect or a spider from a photo is very often tricky, more so when you have to rely on other photos to do so. That’s why I seldom offer a definitive answer and I always look for several sources before I offer an identification for a creature that falls outside my comfort zone (in this case I probably came off sounding more confident than I really was). I completely agree with the point you make in your last post; the internet is a fantastic resource but mistakes do get made. Regarding your spider, your photo was a bit fuzzy and didn’t show all the features that could be relevant to making an identification (one photo seldom does), so you may never get an absolute answer unless you get some more photos or get a opportunity to examine a specimen more closely. In the meantime, go with your answer, it sounds pretty good to me. I really appreciate your effort and follow-up comments – my own education continues. Regards. K

  3. Angel_R says:

    My son and I just found a spider EXACTLY like the one posted above. It was climbing up the side of my house (outside). We are happy to know that it is not dangerous. We live in Kansas, so they are not just found in OK. We lost it before we could take a picture to send in.

  4. lmreid71 says:

    My son found one of these this afternoon :) They’re so cute! I plan on trying to get a photo tomorrow. Thanks for all the great information!

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