March 24, 2012
Location: Elyria Canyon Park, Los Angeles, California
The Mt Washington Beautification Committee were thrilled to find this lovely female Jumping Spider, Phidippus johnsoni, while attempting to remove invasive milk thistle from Elyria Canyon Park. There was a large stand of the thistle on the dirt road leading to the red barn, and while digging the weeds, this bright red spider could not be missed. Thanks to volunteer Sean Gilleran who grabbed the camera while Daniel held the active arachnid, we are able to post these awesome images. According to BugGuide, the Johnson Jumper is “Mostly black with a red abdomen. The male’s abdomen is entirely red, whereas the female’s abdomen has a black mark down the center.” BugGuide also notes: “Not harmful to humans, although like all spiders it will inflict a painful bite if provoked, and this species is reported to be more aggressive than other jumpers”, though Daniel is happy to report he was not bitten. This robust specimen was over a half an inch in length.
More information on the Johnson Jumper can be found on this excellent article by Robert R. Jackson from American Arachnology online.