Jumping spiders are fascinating creatures known for their unique hunting techniques and impressive agility. These small arachnids, often sporting vibrant colors and identifiable markings, are commonly found in gardens and around homes. While their appearance and behavior may intrigue many, a common question arises – do jumping spiders bite?
In general, jumping spiders are not considered dangerous to humans. Though they possess venom used for incapacitating their prey, the majority of bites inflicted on people result in mild symptoms, such as temporary pain and swelling at the bite site. However, it’s important to remember that individual reactions may vary, and it’s always best to exercise caution when interacting with these creatures.
Jumping Spiders Overview
Jumping spiders belong to the family Salticidae, which consists of over 6,000 species. They can be found in various habitats such as gardens, homes, and other outdoor environments.
These spiders are known for their colorful appearance and eight eyes that provide excellent vision. Some common species in the United States include the Phidippus audax and Salticus, which display striking black, white, yellow, or orange patterns.
As carnivores, jumping spiders primarily feed on smaller insects and rely on their excellent jumping abilities to catch prey. Their leaps can be many times their own body length, which helps them ambush prey effectively.
When comparing jumping spiders to other spiders, some key features to keep in mind are:
- Eight eyes with exceptional visual acuity
- Impressive jumping abilities
- Colorful, vibrant markings
- Effective at controlling insect populations
- Generally not aggressive towards humans
- May be unwelcome in homes or gardens due to their appearance
In conclusion, jumping spiders are fascinating creatures with impressive abilities and vibrant appearances, making them an essential part of our ecosystem.
Do Jumping Spiders Bite?
When Do They Bite?
Jumping spiders, members of the spider family Salticidae, usually bite humans when they feel threatened. Since jumping spiders don’t build webs, they rely on their powerful jumps to catch prey and escape danger. This means they are more likely to bite if cornered or provoked.
Bite vs. Poisonous Spiders
Jumping spiders are not considered dangerous, and their bites are painful but not deadly. Poisonous spiders, such as the black widow or brown recluse spiders, are more concerning due to their venomous bites. The table below compares jumping spiders with those more dangerous species:
Signs of a Jumping Spider Bite
A jumping spider bite may have the following features:
- Localized pain at the bite site
- Redness and swelling
- Non-severe symptoms, such as itching
- Severe pain
- Muscle cramps
- Difficulty breathing
If unsure about a spider bite, seek medical attention to ensure proper treatment and care.
Bite Symptoms and Effects
Jumping spiders are usually not dangerous to humans, and their bites often result in mild reactions. Some common mild symptoms of a jumping spider bite may include:
- Itching: Can vary from mild to intense, leading to discomfort
- Redness: The bite area may become reddish due to inflammation.
For example, a person might experience a small red area with itchiness around the bite site, which usually subsides within a few hours or days.
Serious reactions to jumping spider bites are quite rare but should not be ignored. If a person develops any of these symptoms, they must seek medical attention:
- Pain: Intense pain radiating from the bite site, which requires immediate attention
- Nausea and vomiting: Persistent feelings of nausea and episodes of vomiting
- Muscle cramps and weakness: Severe muscle cramps and overall weakness in the body
- Dizziness and breathing difficulties: Feelings of dizziness, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
- High blood pressure, anxiety, and restlessness: A combination of these symptoms should be taken seriously.
|Mild Reactions||Serious Reactions|
|Redness||Nausea and vomiting|
|Muscle cramps and weakness|
|Dizziness and breathing difficulties|
|High blood pressure, anxiety, and restlessness|
As the table shows, mild reactions like itching and redness can be easily managed, while serious reactions require professional medical assistance. It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary depending on an individual’s sensitivity to spider venom. Always seek professional help if severe symptoms persist.
Medical Attention and Treatment
When to Seek Medical Help
Jumping spiders rarely bite humans, and their bites are typically harmless. However, it’s essential to monitor for severe symptoms that may indicate a venomous spider bite. Seek medical help if you experience:
- Chills or fever
- Intense sweating
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Blurred vision
For most jumping spider bites, simple at-home treatments can alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Key steps include:
- Clean the bite: Gently wash the area with soap and water.
- Reduce swelling: Apply a cold pack or ice wrapped in cloth to the affected area.
- Relieve pain: Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
For more serious symptoms, a medical professional may administer antivenom or other treatments, depending on your condition.
Pros and Cons of At-Home Treatment:
|Easy to apply||Not suitable for venomous bites|
|Cost-effective||May not be enough for severe symptoms|
Remember, always seek medical help if the symptoms worsen or persist.
Prevention and Safe Coexistence
Managing Jumping Spiders in Your Home
Jumping spiders, such as Phidippus audax, are generally harmless to humans and pets. They are mostly found in gardens and around homes. To prevent them from entering your home, you can:
- Seal cracks and gaps in your walls, doors, and windows.
- Install screens on windows and vents.
- Keep your home clean and free from clutter, particularly in corners and storage areas.
If you encounter a jumping spider indoors, you can safely capture the spider by using a cup and a piece of paper. Then, release it outdoors. Jumping spiders are not venomous, and their bites are rarely harmful, but they might bite if they feel cornered and threatened.
Insecticides and Alternatives
Using insecticides to control jumping spiders is generally not recommended due to their beneficial role as a natural insect pest control in gardens. Furthermore, they have excellent eyesight and can often avoid insecticide-treated areas. Some alternatives to insecticides include:
- Encouraging natural predators like birds and other spiders by creating a friendly habitat in your garden.
- Using sticky traps to capture spiders, but keep in mind that it might also capture other beneficial insects.
- If you’re experiencing an infestation, consider consulting with a pest control professional to discuss non-chemical options for managing jumping spiders.
|Natural habitat||Encourages biodiversity and reduces insects||May also attract unwanted critters|
|Sticky traps||Non-toxic and easy to use||Might trap other beneficial creatures|
|Pest control||Professional guidance for management||Can be costly and might involve chemicals|
Remember, jumping spiders are generally harmless and friendly towards humans and pets, so coexisting with them should be prioritized over actions that might pose harm to these beneficial creatures.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Jumping Spider, but which one???
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.
Central Oklahoma, USA
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.
Update from Karl
September 18, 2009
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.
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,
Another Update from J. Hopkins
September 19, 2009
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.
Letter 2 – Jumping Spiders found indoors
Location: Bristol, CT
January 31, 2013 9:08 pm
I have a lot of these spiders showing up in my house, more since the cold weather has set in. They move really fast and seem to jump while on flat surfaces.
I live in CT in a wooded yard, I dont see them outside too much. I think they nest in my hatchway area.
I’m curious to know if they are harmful to my cat. He has eaten quite a few and doesn’t show any signs of illness.
Signature: K. Hart
Dear K. Hart,
It is impossible to determine the exact species of your spider, but we are certain it is a Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae and we suspect it is in the genus Phidippus, possibly in the Phidippus audax group which you can find on BugGuide. Jumping Spiders are harmless and they pose no threat to you, your family, your pets or your home. They will prey upon other unwanted visitors in the home. It is quite curious that you have significant numbers indoors. We haven’t heard any previous mention of Jumping Spiders seeking the shelter of homes to pass the winter months. Jumping Spiders are hunting spiders with excellent eyesight. They do not spin a web to trap prey. They stalk prey, including flies and other insects, and pounce on them from a considerable distance.
Thanks for the reply. I’m glad to know there is no threat to us or the fur kids.
Letter 3 – Jumping Spider: Paraphidippus aurantius
Shiny green spider
My husband took a video of this gorgeous little thing and it jumped right onto the camera lens! The closest picture I’ve found online is a Cosmophasis (specifically the picture labelled Cosmophasis ZZ059 on the page http://www.xs4all.nl/~ednieuw /australian/salticidae/Saltici dae.html) …but Wikipedia claims that "some species occur in Africa, while most are found in Southeast Asia, down to Australia." This spider was filmed and photographed in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 🙂 Regrettably, most attempts to look up a shiny green jumping spider on the web come up with…well, the "Green Jumping Spider", Lyssomanes viridis, which this puppy -clearly- isn’t. Thanks for any help you can give me. We just moved here from Dallas two months ago, and rented a house in a semi-rural setting, and we’re very much enjoying getting to know all the wildlife. We have cows, deer, and every kind of spider known to Arkansas! 🙂
Hi there Ro,
Clearly you are a detail oriented person, and you will probably not content yourself with the general answer we are going to give you. This is a Jumping Spider in the Family Salticidae. Most Jumping Spiders, and there are many, do not have common names. BugGuide shows four pages of subfamilies and each of those have additional genus and species identifications. The folks associated with BugGuide are far more organized and technical than we can ever hope to be. We really don’t have the time to sift through all of the photos to provide you with an exact identification, but perhaps you might be curious. Just follow the link we have posted on our site and start to look through images. This is how we do most of our identifications. If you get the answer, please write back and we will post it.
ID of “shiny green spider” from 6/28/07 I believe I’ve found the shiny green spider submitted by Ro on 6/28/07. Here’s a link from the University of Kentucky Entomology website for you to look at and see if you agree. http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterF iles/casefile/spiders/jumping/ jumping.htm#para The spider is the Paraphidippus aurantius. Cheers!
Watercolors by Stefanie Graves
Letter 4 – Jumping Spider: Platycryptus undatus or not????
Subject: Jumping spider
Location: Southwest MI
August 18, 2014 6:20 am
Found this fellow on the sliding patio doors to my deck. I live in the middle of an oak forest so spiders are abundant and I consider them my friends. This was the second time I have seen this particular species and I knew it was a jumper from its behavior. From what I can gather it falls in the Habronattus genus. Can you further identify it or give me any other information on it. Twice, while being photographed, it jumped up onto my camera! Thanks for your wonderful site.
What a beautiful and expressive face your Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae has. We apologize, be we can’t say for certain what this species is, but your images are postitively gorgeous and we hope perhaps one of our readers will write in with a comment and identification. We cannot find any images on BugGuide that have the orange face combined with the chevron pattern on the abdomen. If you happen to learn more, please let us know.
Update: Platycryptus undatus???
Hi again d.k.dodge,
What do you think of these images of Platycryptus undatus from BugGuide? This individual has both the chevron markings on the abdomen, the orange mask, and it is found in Michigan. Here is another example from BugGuide that shows both abdominal markings and facial coloration.
Thank you so much! Looks like a match to me. I love knowing the identity of every living thing I see.
Letter 5 – Jumping Spider: Hentzia palmarum
Location: Huntsville Alabama
August 11, 2017 3:37 pm
Looks like a tiny scorpion but don’t see a tail.
Signature: You Da Man!
As you can see from this BugGuide posting, this is a male Jumping Spider, Hentzia palmarum. According to BugGuide: “Southern and eastern US.” Jumping Spiders in the family Salticidae pose no threat to humans.
Letter 6 – Jumping Spider, possibly Cardinal Jumper
Subject: Spider found in Arkansas
Location: Little Rock Air Force Base
October 24, 2012 3:32 pm
My husband and I found 2 black widow spiders outside our home near Little Rock, AR recently and had someone come out and spray. Today, I found this little guy/girl outside on our back patio where our 3 year old son plays frequently. I want to be sure it’s not something we need to be concerned with if he’s bitten. Thanks for your help!!
This is some species of female Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae, and they are harmless. We believe your spider is in the genus Phidippus, possibly the Cardinal Jumper, Phidippus cardinalis, based on this photo posted to BugGuide.
Letter 7 – Jumping Spider, possibly Johnson’s Jumper
Location: Enumclaw, WA. suburbs
May 6, 2016 12:13 am
I live in a small town Enumclaw,Wa. We live near the downtown area so we are home is not too much into the country. Today I noticed an unusual spider I’ve never seen before. This spider was just under the size of a nickel and moved like a jumping spider. I am submitting a photo as I am very curious what it is.
Thanks for all your hard work.
I found it on my own, no worries guys.
It’s a red backed jumping spider.
Congratulations on self-identifying your Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae. We believe it is in the genus Phidippus, a group with many highly variable and similar looking species. The closest match we could find is on the Pest Control Canada site, though it is most certainly NOT a pest, and it is identified as a Johnson’s Jumper, Phidippus johnsoni. According to the University of British Columbia Biodiversity site, the species is relatively common in the area. There is also a similar looking image from Seattle on BugGuide. According to BugGuide, the Johnson’s 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.” That means your individual is a female.
Letter 8 – Jumping Spider: possibly Phidippus adumbratus
Subject: What kind of jumping spider is this?
Location: San Diego, California
October 7, 2012 2:42 pm
I took this photo a couple of weeks ago in San Diego. I think it’s some kind of Phidippus jumping spider, but I was wondering if it’s possible to tell from the photo what species it is. Its size was about 3/4 in. Many thanks!
You did a great job of identifying your Jumping Spider to the genus level. We are not certain, but we believe your spider resembles Phidippus adumbratus based on these photos from BugGuide which only reports the species from California.
Letter 9 – Jumping Spider, probably Phidippus species
California colorful jumping spider
Hi, Can you help us identify “Volfie?” He was found jumping and web-spinning among some Chocolate Cosmos in Sonoma County, CA. Thanks.
Tracy and Matt
Hi Tracy and Matt,
Sorry about the delay. We don’t have an exact species name for you, but we suspect your Jumping Spider belongs to the genus Phidippus and that she is female.
Letter 10 – Jumping Spider Rescued
Subject: Jumping Spider Identification
Location: Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
July 24, 2012 9:12 pm
I found this little spider while driving out of a Walmart parking lot. As I picked up speed she started to skitter across my windshield! I thought the poor thing would get blown off and run over for sure, so I pulled into another space and went to go put her in a tree or bush or something. But when I saw her dorsal side I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was, and snapped a picture of her. As soon as I did that, I looked around and was worried she would get hurt by someone who isn’t as tolerant of the little creatures as I am. So I decided to capture her and bring her to my house, the least I could do is feed her a few times and then let her go to protect my home from more troublesome bugs. At the moment she’s sucking the juice out of a cricket I bought for her, and has full reign of a critter keeper, and meanwhile I’ve been looking and looking online though and can’t quite decide what species she is. I’m thinking a Phidippus species of some kind, but would appreciate a more educated guess!
Thank you so much, I love your website! (Except for the Unnecessary Carnage section, so sad!)
Signature: Jorie C.
While we are not completely convinced that your Jumping Spider needed to be rescued, your sensitivity to its possible plight has made us decide to award you the Bug Humanitarian tag on this posting. We are not certain of the exact species identity for your spider, but we agree that the genus Phidippus is very likely. That is a large genus with many similar looking species and many species that are highly variable. We believe the closest match is the putnami group.
Letter 11 – Jumping Spider vs. Japanese Beetle
Spider v. Japanese Beetle
Hi Mr. Bugman,
I love your site and have learned much from it. Thank you for all your hard work. The fuzzy legged spider in the attached photo was sizing up a Japanese Beetle on my rose bush located in Sinking Spring, PA. They both were about the same size so maybe the encounter ended in a standoff. I’ve scrolled through your site but didn’t find anything that looked like this spider. Can you help in its identification? Thanks for your help.
Bob & Elena
Hi Bob and Elena,
We talked to Mom today who lives in Ohio. She said the Japanese Beetles had appeared. I said that we have never gotten a photo of one and lo and behold your image arrived. Your spider is a Jumping Spider from the Family Salticidae. They do not build webs, but prefer to stalk prey diurnally using their keen eyesight.
Letter 12 – Jumping Spider: What Big Eyes You Have!!!
Just by chance, I ran into your wonderful website. I wonder if you can help me identify this spider. They tend to hang out on my wooden patio chairs and pounce on flies. They head into narrow cracks when disturbed and they are really fast. It took me a lot of time and efforts to get the photos I wanted.Thanks
Your photos are beautiful. We really can’t tell you much more than this is a Jumping Spider in the Family Salticidae. It could be a Metaphidippus species. We found an image online that seems to match your eye pattern.
Letter 13 – Jumping Spiders from Sri Lanka
Subject: About an unidentified bug
Location: Nittambuwa, Western province, sri lanka
September 24, 2015 4:04 am
I found this bug today when it was in his silky web of a curled pomelo leaf. It is copper-gold in color.. can jump long distances. It jumped on to my camera after seeing the flash. I am interested in this bug. Please give me some information about him.
Signature: Tharindu Dilshan
This is going to take a bit more time to research than we are able to provide this morning. We can tell you this is a Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae, and Jumping Spiders are hunting spiders that do not build webs to trap prey, though they are known to spin shelters like the one you discovered. The really curious point for us is if you look closely at the image with the shelter, you will see a second set of eyes beneath the spider. We believe your jumping individual is a male, and he may have been visiting a female in the shelter.
Yeah. I saw another spider. But i thought , it is its kid. So i didnt care much about it. It is lighter in color.
Thank you Mr Daniel Marlos.
Letter 14 – Jumping Spiders: Mating Ritual? or Males vying for dominance???
Jumping spider mating display
October 31, 2009
I was working in my backyard today when I noticed these two beautiful little jumping spiders. The male was trying to convince the female that he would make a good mate. He would approach the female with his arms raised and vibrate his pedipalps. When he would get close, the female would chase after him like she was going to eat him. Eventually the male decided that it wasn’t worth the risk and ran away. The male was about 1/4 of an inch long, and the female was about 1/2 an inch long. They had gray bodies and brilliant gold hairs covering their legs. Any help you can provide in identifying these little beauties will be very appreciated. Keep up the great work.
We believe your spiders are Phidippus mystaceus based on images posted to BugGuide, but we also suspect this might be two male spiders vying for dominance. The male spider is a perfect match to an image on BugGuide. The coloration and pattern of the females posted to BugGuide are significantly different than in your photos. The images are quite amazing.
After I saw that you identified my spiders I decided to look for more pictures of Phidippus mystaceus/. /I found several sites that showed females with gold on their legs. These all lacked the red markings on top of their heads that the males have. The larger of the spiders I found also lacked these red markings, but the smaller one had them. Could there be another variation or subspecies of P. mystaceus/ /where the females have gold legs too? Thanks for the help with the I.D.
Here are the links. http://bugguide.net/node/view/231102/bgimage
Hope they help.
Letter 15 – Jumping Stick
Baby Jumping Stick
Location: Jaraguá, São Paulo, Brazil
January 7, 2012 6:32 am
May be of your interest these photos of this little jumping stick.
Sometimes, I see them walking with that hesitant manner, just like chameleons, going forward, going back a little bit and going forward again. Chameleons do this to confuse their preys, while proscopiidae do the same to confuse predators.
I love these guys, much people here in São Paulo never saw one in their lives, I think I’m blessed to live where I live.
In northeastern Brazil, a dry and warm place, you can find them like ants!
Signature: Cesar Crash
This posting is a nice compliment to your earlier submission of a Jumping Stick Grasshopper from Brazil.