Do Huntsman Spiders Jump? How Do They Hunt?

Huntsman spiders are incredible – they can run very fast, they are huge in size, and they are incredibly good hunters. But do huntsman spiders jump too? Let’s find out.

Huntsman spiders or giant crab spiders are large and quite quick. They are called so because of the way their legs are bent, giving them the appearance of a crab.

This unusual leg arrangement is located away from the body and helps them jump (or rather fall) from a surface. The real strength of the arachnid, though, lies in its speed.

Do Huntsman Spiders Jump
Huntsman Spider

More than 5,000 species of jumping spiders can be found across the globe, especially in tropical regions. 300 of them can be found in the United States alone.

But is the brightly colored huntsman spider a member of the jumping spider family? Or is it different?

Do they jump, spring or bounce? Let’s find out more about them!

What Are Jumping Spiders?

Jumping spiders belong to the family Salticidae. Phidippus audax is amongst the most common jumping spiders in the world.

Jumping spiders are typically smaller than other arachnids found in and around our homes or gardens. They are carnivorous, and they love preying on insects similar to their size or smaller.

The huntsman spider, on the other hand, relies on its vision, speed, and running skills to hunt.

How Can You Identify Jumping Spiders?

Identifying jumping spiders is easy. Jumping spiders have vivid splashes of colors all over their body and can often be seen sporting colors like red, white, and metallic green (their jaws or chelicerae, especially).

The jumping spider has the extraordinary ability to jump distances more than 10-40 times their body length.

Most jumping spiders are hairy spiders. They have eight eyes, and their head and thorax are fused. One of these pairs is larger than the rest and is located on the cephalothorax’s front.

Their giant eyes are capable of detecting distances just like human eyes and can detect movement easily.

Huntsman Spider

Can Huntsman Spiders Jump?

Huntsman spiders do not jump but have an odd way of moving about. These crab spiders have an unusual leg arrangement that can give an observer the appearance of jumping.

The joints of most of these spiders are not vertically perpendicular to the body but twisted forward in a crab-like manner.

Other species of huntsman spiders use odd locomotion styles too.

For instance, the golden wheel spider (Carparachne aureoflava) uses a completely unique rolling movement to run from predators. It is a native of Namib in South Africa.

Another huntsman from the same region called the Cebrennus rechenbergi, moves around in a handspring motion when trying to evade predators.

There are other differences as well.

Huntsman spiders remain active during the night and are famous for their unique mating rituals.

The male spider vibrates its palps to woo the female, and the female does not devour the male after mating, unlike other spiders.

Lastly, rather than weaving webs, the giant huntsman spider hunts, forages, and grabs its food through its superior speed.

Golden Huntsman Spider

How Do Huntsman Spiders Hunt?

As mentioned above, Huntsman spiders do not spend their time waiting for their prey to walk into their silk trap.

Instead, they wait for insects, stalk them and pounce on them when the time is suitable. In some cases, they can cover a lot of distance to reach their prey before killing it.

These types of spiders mostly eat insects and other invertebrates at night.

Cockroaches are a particular favorite, so if your home is a haven for roaches, the Huntsman makes an excellent beneficial insect and natural pest remover.

What Are Some Other Unique Things About Jumping Spiders?

Jumping spiders are found across all continents, and their habitats vary just as much as their appearances.

These small and fuzzy-headed insects are often only 0.5 inches in length, but there is a lot of diversity in size.

The Hyllus giganteus is the largest spider in this species, measuring almost upto an inch. On the other hand, the Habronattus pyrrithrix only measures up to 0.19 to 0.3 inches.

Carl Ludwig Koch, a German arachnologist, discovered the giant jumping spider in 1846 and first mentioned it in his co-written book The arachnids: depicted and described true to nature.

Huntsman spider

The latter can be found in the southwestern US and western Mexico.

However, while they may all be different in size, there is one commonality – their eyesight is superb. They have four pairs of eyes, all pointed in the front, ready to pounce.

The central two eyes are as powerful as little binoculars and have 360-degree vision because they can move in all directions.

There are many other notable facts about these spiders, but perhaps the most important is the way they hunt their prey.

They build a single silk thread to attach themselves to a place like an anchor, helping them in a more stable trajectory as they are jumping.

They then jump distances of as much as 6.3 inches in order to grab their prey, a distance nearly six to ten times their size.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do huntsman spiders chase you?

Deliberately? No. Huntsman spiders might chase you if they feel threatened. They are not interested in humans and are not aggressive creatures hell-bent on gobbling you up or maiming you. They only go the extra mile for a delicious snack.

Should I be scared of a huntsman spider?

Huntsman spiders aren’t on the lookout for you. These spiders won’t attack you unless provoked. Their spider bites are not very painful and, in most cases, do not require medical attention.
If you still get bitten, you can use cold packs. If you experience inflammation and vomiting, seek medical help immediately.

Will huntsman spiders crawl on you?

No, huntsman spiders do not crawl on you under normal circumstances, and they don’t take a stroll on your face while you’re sleeping, either.
These spiders do like to come inside houses, but they prefer to keep their distance from humans and will not come near you even when you are asleep.

Why do huntsman spiders run at you?

If it does move toward you, it will be because it feels threatened. Huntsman spiders cannot look at you properly and so can sometimes run toward you instead of running away from you.
The huntsman spider is a social arachnid not fond of aggression and will move towards you if there is some kind of threat display.

Wrap Up

Huntsman spiders are roving hunters who use speed, agility, and strength to catch their prey. They don’t rely on their web-weaving skills for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Excluding a run down for a lip-smackingly delicious cockroach, these species of spiders are non-aggressive. It is best to live and let these furry friends live too!

Thank you for reading!

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.

    View all posts
  • 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.

    View all posts

42 thoughts on “Do Huntsman Spiders Jump? How Do They Hunt?”

  1. Only after sending these photos in, I though it good to just warn the readers. Spiders are beautiful and very few have medicaly significant bites. Please do not try to just handle any spider. I have spiders as pets and through experience I handle them sometimes like when cleaning their cages. I also only handle some of them and not often. If you respect them, they will respect you. Every time I handle a spiders for what ever reason, I prepare myself that I will be bitten. Has not happened yet but you have to remeber that it can happen and usualy results in a flying spider who might not survive the fall.

    Just a friendly warning.

    Reply
    • Apparently, Platoridae is another family of spiders known as both Giant Crab Spiders and Huntsman Spiders. We have found images on Ecologypad, Science PHoto Library and Shutterstock, all of which support your comment. Since we are not scientists, we are not prepared to dispute any of that information. The common names we originally used when we posted the photos, Giant Crab Spider and Huntsman Spider, are both apparently used for the family Platoridae. Thanks so much for the information.

      Reply
  2. I’ve seen other pictures of what seems to be the same from nearby amazonian Peru, including the eyes, which clearly are sparassid arrangment, beyond that, still dont know.

    Reply
    • Thanks Leon. Do you have additional information on the Tiger Huntsman Spider, like a scientific name? Is there anything online that we can link to?

      Reply
  3. I’m afraid I know next to nothing about spider identification, but could it possibly some species of huntsman spider? A few photos I’m finding of “lichen huntsman spiders” and their kin have vaguely similar physical features to the one pictured above.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the tip Jacob. There is an unidentified photo on the Within the Chronicles’ Frame blog that came up in a websearch. The image is not identified but there is a pronounced similarity. Grabbing the image from the web and opening in photoshop indicates the name Lichen Huntsman Spider. Images on FlickRiver of Lichen Huntsman Spiders in the genus Pandercetes look very similar and the eye pattern also matches. We believe you have correctly identified this Huntsman Spider to at least the family and possibly genus level.

      Reply
  4. Hi Daniel,
    Yep, genus Pandercetes of family Sparassidae is spot on! There are a handful of species in that genus that could live in Malaysia. It’s usually the males that are more colorful and iridescent, so that may be what this one is (though I can’t see the pedipalps very well to verify). “Lichen Spider” is definitely a fitting nickname!

    Reply
  5. Hi Daniel,
    Yep, genus Pandercetes of family Sparassidae is spot on! There are a handful of species in that genus that could live in Malaysia. It’s usually the males that are more colorful and iridescent, so that may be what this one is (though I can’t see the pedipalps very well to verify). “Lichen Spider” is definitely a fitting nickname!

    Reply
  6. Is there anywhere on earth, that is both Tropical and 100% free of this god forsaken species of Spider. If I found a Huntsman spider of any size in my hotel room, I flat out would not be able to sleep for the rest of my trip. If I killed it or not is of no consequence because I know way too much about that family of spiders, to be as naive as to think that if I killed one in my room that I got them all. I mean come on, were talking about a species of spider that is responsible for 2000 car accidents a year in Australia, they bad ….. they real bad !!!

    Reply
  7. Oh, these Costa Rican beauties are making me want to visit sooo badly! Someday when I have the money to do so I’ll have to plan a vacation there just to go looking for bugs.

    Reply
  8. Most likely a huntsman because of the leg span but still looks like a wandering spider from the side but I’m certain it’s a huntsman

    Reply
  9. I found a very similar spider 10 days ago in Guatemala (May 2017)…. A first time after had wandering at night the forest of the country countless time herping thse last 10 years…
    So Olios sp. or not ! I would be very happy to know as well 🙂

    Cheers

    Reply
  10. Huntsman spiders, members of the family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae), are known by this name because of their speed and mode of hunting. They also are called giant crab spiders because of their size and appearance. Larger species sometimes are referred to as wood spiders, because of their preference for woody places (forests, mine shafts, woodpiles, wooden shacks). In southern Africa the genus Palystes are known as rain spiders or lizard-eating spiders.[3] Commonly they are confused with baboon spiders from the Mygalomorphae infraorder, which are not closely related.

    More than a thousand Sparassidae species occur in most warm temperate to tropical regions of the world, including much of Australasia, Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean Basin, and the Americas.[4]

    Several species of huntsman spider can use an unusual form of locomotion. The wheel spider (Carparachne aureoflava) from the Namib uses a cartwheeling motion, while Cebrennus rechenbergi uses a handspring motion.

    Reply
  11. Huntsman spiders, members of the family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae), are known by this name because of their speed and mode of hunting. They also are called giant crab spiders because of their size and appearance. Larger species sometimes are referred to as wood spiders, because of their preference for woody places (forests, mine shafts, woodpiles, wooden shacks). In southern Africa the genus Palystes are known as rain spiders or lizard-eating spiders.[3] Commonly they are confused with baboon spiders from the Mygalomorphae infraorder, which are not closely related.

    More than a thousand Sparassidae species occur in most warm temperate to tropical regions of the world, including much of Australasia, Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean Basin, and the Americas.[4]

    Several species of huntsman spider can use an unusual form of locomotion. The wheel spider (Carparachne aureoflava) from the Namib uses a cartwheeling motion, while Cebrennus rechenbergi uses a handspring motion.

    Reply
  12. Lisa from Durban, South Africa here. We had one of these spiders on our garden bench this morning. Quite a surprise during morning coffee!

    Reply

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