Are Jumping Spiders Friendly? Debunking Common Myths

Jumping spiders are fascinating creatures known for their remarkable vision and unique hunting techniques.

These small, agile arachnids are found in various environments and are often seen leaping to catch their prey.

Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, these spiders are generally not considered harmful to humans.

Are Jumping Spiders Friendly
Jumping Spider: Psecas viridipurpureus

In fact, many people find jumping spiders to be quite friendly and even display a level of curiosity towards humans.

For example, they have been known to watch humans from a distance or even approach them without showing aggression.

This affable nature sets them apart from some other spider species that tend to be more reclusive or aggressive.

Moreover, jumping spiders are beneficial to have around, as they help control insect populations by feeding on common pests.

This role in natural pest control is essential in sustaining the balance in the ecosystems where they are found.

Jumping Spiders: An Overview

Jumping spiders belong to the Salticidae family, the largest family of spiders with over 5,000 described species1. They are known for their excellent vision, which they use to hunt and navigate their surroundings2.

Habitats and Range

  • Jumping spiders can be found in various habitats, including gardens, forests, and around homes3.
  • They have a wide range, covering different continents and climates.

Physical Appearance

Jumping spiders come in various colors and markings, making them quite diverse in appearance4. For example:

  • Phidippus audax, a common jumping spider, is black with a distinct irregular orange to white spot on its abdomen5.
  • Salticus, also known as “zebra spiders,” usually have a white and black pattern6.

Body Length

The body length of jumping spiders varies depending on the species. Female Phidippus audax spiders measure 8 to 19 millimeters, while males measure 6 to 13 millimeters7.

Jumping Spider

Eye Pattern

  • Jumping spiders have a unique eye pattern, with eight eyes in total8.
  • Their enlarged anterior median eyes provide excellent vision, while the other six eyes detect motion and light.

Comparison of Jumping Spider Species

SpeciesColor & MarkingsFemale Body LengthMale Body Length
Phidippus audaxBlack with orange to white spot8 – 19 mm6 – 13 mm
Salticus (Zebra Spider)White and black patternVariableVariable

Behavior and Personality Traits

Friendly and Inquisitive Nature

Jumping spiders are known for their curiosity and personality.

They tend to be more friendly and social among spiders, with their exceptional eyesight allowing them to recognize and react to their surroundings.

Hunting and Movements

Jumping spiders are active hunters with:

  • Well-developed eyesight
  • Fast, agile movements

These spiders use their vision to study and track their prey instead of building webs like some other spiders.

Their movements include quick leaps between surfaces. Besides, these spiders carefully stalk their preys before attacking.

Jumping Spider

Courtship and Mating Dance

Male jumping spiders perform courtship displays known as mating dances for potential mates. These dances consist of:

  • Vibrations created by body movements
  • Leg movements or “taps”

These displays showcase the male spider’s personality and are unique to each individual.

Are Jumping Spiders Dangerous?

Bite and Venom

Jumping spiders can bite, but their venom is not considered dangerous to humans.

The bite can cause mild pain, itching, and swelling, but these symptoms are usually short-lived. Common symptoms include:

  • Mild pain
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Short-lived symptoms

Harmless or Poisonous?

Jumping spiders are generally considered harmless to humans. They are not poisonous in the sense that their venom is not medically significant or life-threatening.

Comparing Jumping Spiders to Poisonous Spiders

FeaturesJumping SpidersPoisonous Spiders
Venom potencyLowHigh
Danger to humansMinimalPotentially severe
AggressivenessLowVaries

When They Feel Threatened

Jumping spiders usually only bite when they feel cornered or threatened. They mostly use their silk web to retreat when in fear.

Therefore, jumping spiders are generally harmless creatures that pose little danger to humans.

Their bite may cause some discomfort, but it is not life-threatening or medically significant.

Keeping Jumping Spiders as Pets

Jumping spiders can be an interesting choice for those looking to keep a pet spider.

They are known for their curious and friendly behavior, making them more appealing for domestication.

In this section, we will explore suitable species, creating comfortable enclosures, and providing proper care for your pet spider.

Suitable Species for Domestication

There are several species of jumping spiders that are commonly kept as pets. Some popular choices include:

  • Phidippus audax: Also known as the bold jumper, this species is black with a distinctive orange to white spot on its abdomen. It can be found in gardens and around homes.
  • Phidippus arizonensis: Common in Central Texas, this species is one of the largest jumping spiders in the US.
  • Salticus scenicus: Known as the zebra spider, this small spider features white stripes on a blackish-brown background.

Creating a Comfortable Enclosure

A suitable habitat for your pet jumping spider should closely resemble their natural environment.

Consider the following when designing their enclosure:

  • Size: A small to medium-sized enclosure (around 5-10 gallons) will suffice, as jumping spiders don’t require much space.
  • Substrate: Use a mixture of peat moss, coconut fiber, or potting soil to cover the enclosure floor.
  • Decorations: Add branches, plants, rocks, and other structures to mimic their natural habitats like forests, gardens, and scrubland.
  • Ventilation: Ensure proper airflow with a mesh or wire-screen lid, as jumping spiders need fresh air.

Feeding and Caring for Your Pet Spider

To properly maintain your jumping spider, follow these guidelines:

  • Diet: Feed your spider small insects such as fruit flies, crickets, and mealworms.
  • Frequency: Adult jumping spiders should be fed every 2-3 days, while younger spiders can be fed daily.
  • Water: Provide a shallow water dish or mist the enclosure to maintain proper humidity and allow the spider to drink.
  • Cleaning: Regularly remove leftover prey and waste, as well as moldy substrate to avoid bacterial growth.

By selecting an appropriate species, creating a comfortable environment, and providing proper care, you can enjoy your pet jumping spider’s curious and friendly behavior.

Remember to respect their space and needs to ensure a happy and healthy pet.

Jumping Spider

Notable Jumping Spider Species

Phidippus Regius, also known as the Regal Jumping Spider, is a large, brightly colored species found in the United States.

Some features of this species include:

  • Eyes: Large, forward-facing eyes with excellent vision
  • Color: Vibrant hues, often with bold markings
  • Courtship: Elaborate courtship displays, including leg waving and body vibrations

Other species in the Phidippus genus share similar features, like good eyesight and distinct coloration.

For example, Phidippus audax is a common and conspicuous jumping spider often called Orchard spider.

Peacock Spiders

Peacock Spiders are known for their stunning appearance and fascinating courtship displays. Key features include:

  • Eyes: Four pairs of eyes, enabling excellent color vision
  • Color: Vibrant, iridescent colors, and patterns
  • Courtship: Elaborate dances, with males displaying colorful abdominal flaps

Hyllus Giganteus

The Hyllus Giganteus is among the largest jumping spiders. Here are some characteristics:

  • Eyes: Four pairs of eyes, with acute vision for hunting
  • Color: Earthy tones, suitable for camouflage
  • Size: Up to 2 cm in length, making it one of the largest

Bagheera Kiplingi

Bagheera Kiplingi is a unique jumping spider species. Some notable attributes include:

  • Eyes: Excellent eyesight for navigating
  • Color: Brown and black, with intricate patterns
  • Diet: Primarily herbivorous, feeding on plant nectars and Beltian bodies

Comparing different species

SpeciesEye PairsColorationCourtship DisplaysSizeUnique Features
Phidippus Regius4Vibrant huesYes1.8 cmRegal appearance
Peacock Spiders4Iridescent colorsYes0.3-0.5 cmElaborate dances
Hyllus Giganteus4Earthy tonesNoUp to 2 cmAmong the largest
Bagheera Kiplingi4Complex patternsNo0.6-0.8 cmMostly herbivorous diet

Conclusion

The captivating world of jumping spiders reveals them to be not only remarkable predators but also surprisingly friendly and beneficial creatures.

Their exceptional vision, agility, and inquisitive behavior set them apart from other spiders. These tiny arachnids play a crucial role in natural pest control, contributing to the balance of ecosystems.

Whether as curious observers in nature or as captivating pets, jumping spiders showcase their unique charm.

 

Footnotes

  1. U.S. National Park Service
  2. Harvard Gazette
  3. Washington State University
  4. University of Texas at Austin
  5. Penn State Extension
  6. University of Texas at Austin
  7. Penn State Extension
  8. Harvard Gazette

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about jumping spiders. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Australian Jumping Spider

identification of spider
Hi,
I’m located in Melbourne Australia and I found this spider in my car, crawling up the window. At first I thought it was a baby bee, but upon closer inspection realised it was a spider, I took a photo because I haven’t seen one of these before.

Sorry about the quality of the photo but the spider was about 1-2cms, orangy-red legs, white feeler-fang type things and the abdomen had yellow stripes, hence my assumption it was a bee. I’m hoping someone can help me identify the spider as my searching hasn’t provided any answers.
Anna

Hi Anna,
This is a Jumping Spider in the Family Salticidae. They are harmless. As the coloration of your specimen is very distinctive, it shouldn’t be too difficult to identify the species based upon the family information and location.

Letter 2 – Antlike Jumping Spider

OK, a small spider with crab-like half claws?
I live in Houston and found this little guy (half-centimeter, maybe) on the table of my 4th story deck. After an hour of research on the web, including your site — still no luck. Seen it before? Thanks,
Shayne

Hi Shayne,
While we cannot locate an exact species identification, all indications are that this is an Antlike Jumping Spider in the genus Peckhamia. It looks very similar to, but not exactly like, Peckhamia picata which is pictured on BugGuide.

I just found this page ( http://tolweb.org/accessory /Salticids_in_Disguise?acc_id =63 ), where I definitely now see the close similarities. Very, very interesting. And thank you again,
Shayne

Letter 3 – Apache Jumping Spider

red hairy penny-sized spider
Location: Temecula, California
November 8, 2010 4:43 am
My boyfriend took this picture of a spider that was sitting on his shoe. It was in Temecula, CA last month (October). He said that it was the size of a penny and able to see him from far away. The fangs were a blue-ish/green color. He said that the spider would stand up on its back legs whenever they got close to it (hence the far-away picture).

We’ve looked online to try to decipher this little guy and think maybe it could be a red-back jumping spider(Johnson jumper?) The only difference is the entire top of the spider was red not only the butt. Just extremely curious as to what kind of spider this really is. Thanks!!!!!!!
Signature: Aimee and Blake

Apache Jumping Spider

Dear Aimee and Blake,
Though your photo is quite blurry, the markings and coloration of this Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae indicate that it is most likely
Phidippus apacheanus, and though BugGuide does not indicate a common name, we would suggest Apache Jumping Spider as an obvious choice.

Letter 4 – Apache Jumping Spider

Subject: What kind of spider is this?
Location: Colorado
October 17, 2012 12:43 am
I was wondering if you could identify this spider
Signature: Brian

Apache Jumping Spider

Hi Brian,
We believe we have correctly identified your Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae as a female
Phiddipus apacheanus, based on this photo posted to BugGuide.  Sadly, BugGuide does not provide much species information, except that the name is “A Latinized adjective that means ‘of the apache,”so we feel an appropriate common name for this love spider could be the Apache Jumping Spider.

  This spider is often bright red in coloration.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a nice page on Phiddipus apacheanus, which includes this bit of information:  “Jumping spiders do not spin webs for catching prey. Instead, they construct small tent-like silken retreats under rocks or logs, or on plants, which they use at night and during hibernation.

The females will also lay their eggs in them. Jumping spiders are most active during the day, and they prefer sunshine. They tend to stay in their retreats on cloudy or rainy days. Jumping spiders are generally interested in whatever approaches them, and will often turn and face human observers, and may even advance towards them. They are generally harmless to people.”  This image from our archive shows a similar coloration.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

6 thoughts on “Are Jumping Spiders Friendly? Debunking Common Myths”

  1. This spider is Breda jovialis (Koch, 1879) in the family Salticidae. A review of its biology and habits have been provided in my Spiders of Australia book (2003)
    .

    Best regards, Trevor

    Reply

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