What Do Jumping Spiders Eat? A Quick Insight on Their Diet

Jumping spiders are fascinating creatures known for their impressive leaping abilities and distinct personalities. These intelligent arachnids have excellent vision, often turning to look at you as you approach. During the day, they actively hunt for food in various habitats, including homes, barns, and fences.

One important aspect to consider about jumping spiders is their diet. In their natural environment, these spiders primarily prey on insects and other spiders. Their ability to jump impressive distances allows them to catch their prey effectively.

In addition to their main diet, jumping spiders might occasionally feed on other small creatures they come across in their search for food. By understanding the feeding habits and preferences of jumping spiders, you can better appreciate the vital role they play in controlling the populations of other insects and maintaining the balance in their ecosystems.

The Diet of Jumping Spiders

Primary Prey

Jumping spiders are predators, and their primary food source consists of small insects. Some common prey that they consume include:

  • Flies
  • Crickets
  • Fruit flies
  • Mealworms

These spiders use their impressive agility and jumping abilities to catch their prey, making them efficient hunters.

Carnivorous Diet

As carnivores, jumping spiders have a taste for various insects and other spiders. They actively stalk and pounce on their prey, capturing them with their strong front legs. The jumping spiders’ diet mainly consists of:

  • Ants
  • Worms
  • Roaches
  • Beetles

This variety of prey ensures their survival and consistent food availability.

Exotic Diet

In addition to their regular diet, jumping spiders have been known to consume more exotic prey occasionally. This can include:

  • Small insects from the tropics
  • Other spider species

These exotic choices add diversity to their diet and highlight their adaptability as a species. However, they still primarily rely on common insects that are abundantly available in their environment.

Overall, the diet of jumping spiders is a fascinating combination of common, small insects and the occasional exotic prey. As efficient predators, their diverse diet supports their survival and showcases their adaptability within different environments.

Adaptations for Hunting

Vision and Sensing

Jumping spiders, members of the family Salticidae, are known for their exceptional vision, which is crucial for hunting. They have eight eyes, arranged in four pairs, and are known to possess the sharpest vision among all spiders. This outstanding eyesight allows them to detect prey from a distance, analyze its movement, and plan their attack.

In addition to their keen vision, jumping spiders also rely on vibrations and touch to navigate their environments and locate prey. Their highly sensitive, short legs can detect the slightest movement, providing them with valuable information about their surroundings and potential targets.

Specialized Physical Features

Jumping spiders have some unique physical adaptations that aid in their hunting abilities. One key feature is their strong legs, which allow them to leap up to 50 times their body length. This impressive jumping ability helps them catch prey in mid-air and navigate various habitats, from forests to human dwellings.

Here are some key features of jumping spiders:

  • Excellent vision with eight eyes
  • Strong legs for leaping great distances
  • Use of silk for safety anchors and creating nests

Some characteristics of jumping spiders’ hunting behavior include:

  • Actively stalking prey without using webs
  • Quick and agile movements to catch prey off-guard
  • Subduing prey with their front legs and injecting venom

While jumping spiders are part of the same species as other hunting spiders like lynx spiders and wolf spiders, their leaping abilities and exceptional vision set them apart. Below is a comparison table highlighting the differences:

Feature Jumping Spider Lynx Spider Wolf Spider
Eyes Eight eyes (sharp) Eight eyes (average) Eight eyes (average)
Legs Short, strong Spiny Long, strong
Hunting Strategy Leaping and stalking Ambush Pursuit

So, while exploring various habitats, keep an eye out for these distinctive and fascinating jumping spiders, as their unique adaptations make them exceptional predators in the world of spiders.

Feeding Habits in Different Environments

Feeding in the Wild

Jumping spiders like Phidippus audax are known to be great hunters in a variety of environments, such as tropical forests, temperate forests, scrublands, and even deserts. These arachnids are carnivores and mainly feast on smaller insects or arthropods.

One unique aspect of their hunting technique is their superb vision. Their large cephalothorax houses four pairs of eyes that aid in their attack strategy. Jumping spiders can quickly leap on their prey with the help of their safety lines, which they leave behind before jumping.

Feeding in Captivity

When keeping a bold jumping spider as an exotic pet, it’s essential to feed them a diet that resembles their natural food sources. A well-rounded diet might include:

  • Small insects such as flies, crickets, or small worms
  • Some spiderlings might prefer aphids or fruit flies as a primary source of nutrition

It is also crucial to provide fresh water in their enclosure to ensure proper hydration. Maintaining a clean and safe environment can reduce the risk of bacterial infections, helping to keep your pet spider healthy.

In captivity, the feeding frequency may vary depending on your pet’s size, activity, and age. Adult jumping spiders in captivity usually require feeding once every two to three days, while spiderlings might need daily meals.

When creating an enclosure for your pet jumping spider, ensure that ample space is available for them to hunt and move around. Additionally, provide adequate hiding spots and keep the temperature and humidity at appropriate levels for their well-being.

Comparison Table

Feeding Habits Wild Environment Captivity
Type of Prey Insects & Arthropods Insects & Worms
Hunting Strategy Vision & Leaping Enclosure Setup*
Frequency As available in habitat Age & Size Dependent

*Providing an ideal enclosure setup simulates a natural hunting experience for your pet spider.

Remember to treat your jumping spider with respect and care. These fascinating creatures showcase interesting aspects of arachnid behavior that will pique your curiosity and make for an unconventional yet remarkable pet.

Unique Feeding Patterns of Certain Species

In the world of jumping spiders, you’ll find a pleasant surprise in the variety of feeding patterns among different species. For instance, the Bagheera kiplingi, which happen to enjoy a more vegetarian diet compared to their fellow jumping spiders. They primarily feast on Beltian bodies, a nutritious part found in certain plants. Occasionally, they indulge in insects or ant larvae.

Hyllus giganteus, on the other hand, hunt for larger prey. With their impressive size and strength, they target insects, smaller spiders, and even other Hyllus giganteus if resources are scarce. They often rely on their ambush skills to attack unsuspecting prey from above.

Jumping spiders belong to a vast family called Salticidae, which contains more than 6,000 species. This rich spider taxonomy reflects the diversity of their feeding habits. Thanks to their excellent vision, these arthropods can carefully select their meals.

Species Primary Diet Hunting Technique
Bagheera kiplingi Beltian bodies Active hunting
Hyllus giganteus Insects Ambush & active hunting

To summarize:

  • Bagheera kiplingi:
    • Primarily vegetarian
    • Active hunters seeking Beltian bodies
  • Hyllus giganteus:
    • Carnivorous
    • Ambush predators and active hunters

So, as you explore the intriguing world of jumping spiders, remember the unique feeding patterns among the various species, from the plant-eating Bagheera kiplingi to the powerful Hyllus giganteus.

Jumping Spiders and Humans

Jumping spiders are generally small creatures, and their appearance might seem a bit intimidating. However, you don’t have to worry too much about these tiny arachnids. They are not dangerous to humans as their main diet consists of insects and other spiders.

When it comes to their sting, jumping spiders do have the ability to bite. However, the bite is usually not harmful to humans. It might cause a mild reaction, like a mosquito bite, but nothing more severe. In comparison to tarantulas, jumping spiders are much less threatening.

While these spiders are not as large as tarantulas, their courtship rituals are fascinating. With their excellent vision and unique eye pattern, they engage in intricate dances and displays to woo their mates.

Jumping spiders are not only harmless predators of insects but can also help indirectly with pollination. As they hunt for prey among plants, they inevitably come into contact with pollen, which then gets transferred from one flower to another.

In summary:

  • Jumping spiders are small and not dangerous to humans.
  • They primarily eat insects and other spiders.
  • Their bites are not harmful and would cause mild reactions at most.
  • Compared to tarantulas, they are less threatening.
  • Their courtship rituals involve intricate dancing and displays.
  • They can indirectly aid in pollination while hunting for prey.

So the next time you see a jumping spider, remember that they are more friends than foes and coexist peacefully with humans, playing their role in the ecosystem.

Potential Dangers and Cons of Feeding

Jumping spiders are beneficial predators that help to control the population of arthropods in your garden. However, there are potential risks and downsides to feeding these spiders, which include:

  • Venom: Although jumping spiders are generally harmless to humans, their venom can paralyze small arthropods. It is essential to keep in mind that some spiders might have a slightly stronger venom, causing an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

  • Webs: While jumping spiders do not build typical webs, they create small silken nests for shelter. Though not a direct danger, the presence of these nests might be undesirable in some areas, as they could become messy or unsightly.

Here are a few more considerations:

  • Cons: Overfeeding jumping spiders could lead to an imbalance in the garden ecosystem. This might unintentionally create an environment where the spider population thrives at the expense of other beneficial insects.

  • Predators: Feeding jumping spiders could attract larger predators, such as birds, to your garden. This may result in unwanted disruptions to the delicate balance of your garden ecosystem.

  • Pest control: Jumping spiders are natural pest controllers, as they prey on harmful arthropods. Excessive feeding might cause them to rely more on the provided food, ultimately reducing their effectiveness in controlling pests.

Remember, it’s crucial to find a balance in nurturing these natural predators without disrupting your garden’s ecosystem. Approach feeding jumping spiders cautiously, and consider the potential risks and cons involved.

The Nutritional Aspect of Their Diet

Jumping spiders, belonging to the family of spiders called Salticidae, have a varied diet. Their nutritional needs change based on their stage of life, such as juvenile or adult.

As a juvenile, these spiders mainly feed on smaller insects, while adults are known to consume not only insects but also lizards. Consuming different types of prey allows jumping spiders to intake various nutrients essential for their growth and development.

Interestingly, jumping spiders occasionally opt for consuming nectar, which provides them with a quick energy boost. Nectar proves to be cost-effective for these spiders as it takes less energy to consume compared to hunting for prey.

During winter, their dietary habits change due to limited food availability. As a consequence, jumping spiders must search widely or resort to alternative food sources to meet their nutritional requirements, such as sampling plant material or scavenging.

In conclusion, the nutritional aspect of a jumping spider’s diet consists of insects, lizards, and even nectar. Varied sources of nutrition provide these spiders with the necessary nutrients to survive and thrive throughout their lives, regardless of the season or their stage of development.

Reader Emails

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 eats Cockroach

 

Spider eating cockroach
Hi Mr. Bugman,
‘Tis me again from Halls Head, Western Australia. This spider took almost 2 hours to demolish a fair sized cockroach, he then returned about an hour later to check for left overs. I have looked on your site and in my books, is it a Grey Crevice Jumping Spider please? Thank you, cheers,
Karen
P.S. I did send this back in Dec/January but I think you must be still mega busy….

Hi Karen,
This is a Jumping Spider in the Family Salticidae, but we do not know what species. Without going into the myriad reasons we are unable to answer each and every question that is sent to us, we will say that if your letter does not get answered within three days, chances are very good that it will not get answered since so many additional letters have arrived and we try to devote time to the newest arrivals when we are selecting what to answer on a given day. Additionally, a catchy subject line generally catches our eye, and a subject line that reads “no subject” generally gets ignored.

Letter 2 – Jumping Spider eats Fly in Pakistan

 

what is this spider ?
Location: Lahore, Pakistan
November 5, 2011 5:07 am
found in my lawn. don’t know what kind of spider it is but i like its textures 🙂
Signature: Shahzad Riaz

Jumping Spider eats Fly

Dear Shahzad Riaz,
This effective predator is a harmless Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae.

Jumping Spider eats Fly

Letter 3 – Jumping Spider eats Moth

 

Hungry Jumper

Jumping Spider: Thiodina sylvana eats moth

Hungry Jumper
Location: Mid-Missouri
October 27, 2010 3:44 pm
Hello Bugman. I came across this jumping spider (Species: Thiodina sylvana is my best guess) a few weeks back on a Friday evening after work. He was scurrying around rather frantically and as you can see, he was looking in dire need of a meal. I snapped a few pictures before he hid out. I went out shooting the next afternoon and I found what I think is the same jumper snacking on a moth. I love these little jumping spiders so I was happy to see him getting fed (at the poor Moth’s expense of course). It was really neat to be able to see her activity over the period of a couple of days.
Signature: Nathanael Siders

Jumping Spider: Thiodina sylvana

Dear Nathanael,
You are just about the perfect contributor.  You have a catchy subject line for grabbing our attention.  Your letter has content and you have identified a difficult challenge, though we still have to verify if we agree with your identification.  You have gorgeous, perfectly sized images.  In the past, we have cropped out copyright information if we needed to crop into the photos for posting purposes, but your images do not need to be cropped.  The compositions are incredible.  Thank you for taking the time to make such a valuable contribution to our website.

Jumping Spider: Thiodina sylvana

Ed. Note: We decided to verify the identity of this Jumping Spider on BugGuide, and we found Nathanael’s photos already posted.  We agree with his identification but we think it is important to also indicate the variability of Thiodina sylvana by linking to this image of a black individual on BugGuide.  We wonder how Nathanael is certain that this is not Thiodina puerpera.

Thank you so much for the nice comments.  I am glad to hear you appreciate my contributions and will keep them coming if that’s okay.  I had forgotten all about submitting those to bugguide.net.  I did consider Thiodina puerpera but there are a few significant differences that I noticed.  Mainly, the coloring on the top of the head is different between the two female species.  In Thiodina puerpera, the top of the head seems to be mainly white and black whereas the Thiodina sylvana has orange areas mixed in.  The orange present on the head of the spider in my photos, among some of the subtle patterns on the head are what led me to Thiodina sylvana.  Not being an entomologist, I rarely feel confident enough to feel 100% sure, but I did a good bit of searching to find an ID on this “lady” and the Thiodina sylvana was the only species that fit all the characteristics of my spider as far as I could tell.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my judgment call.  Do you know if some female Thiodina puerpera that have orange on their head as well?

Thanks Nathanael,
We hope you realize that we are not entomologists.  Daniel teaches photography, and his assessment of the quality of your photographs has much more validity than any confirmation we might attempt regarding this species.  We have located a photo of
Thiodina sylvana that has orange coloration on the head, but it is a male, and it can be found on bugGuide.

I actually did think you all (or some) were entomologists.  Daniel’s compliments on my photography mean that much more to be coming from a photography teacher.  I appreciate all the interaction you have given me with my submission.  You definitely have a wonderful site and I am happy to be able to contribute some of my photos.
Nathanael

Letter 4 – Jumping Spider eats MOth

 

Never seen in 36 years
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
June 16, 2011 6:52 pm
I thought I’d seen all the spiders in my yard, but apparently not. I have seen a few of these in the last couple of days and was wondering what they were. Btw my most unfavorite spiders in my house/yard are the giant house spiders, man are they fast!
Signature: Shawn B

Jumping Spider eats Moth

Dear Shawn,
This is a Jumping Spider in the genus
Phidippus.  Many species in the genus are highly variable in color and many species look similar.  Here is a photo that looks close from BugGuide.  Jumping Spiders do not make a snare to capture prey.  They are hunting spiders that jump great distances.  They have excellent eyesight.  They will follow the movements of a human observer.  This poor individual pictured on BugGuide looks as though it didn’t survive its human encounter.

Letter 5 – Jumping Spider eats Moth

 

Subject: Moth – It’s What’s For Dinner
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
May 26, 2012 5:32 pm
Dear Bugman,
First off, I want to say after several years of faithfully reading WTB you and your colleagues have made me an armchair entomology enthusiast. You’ve opened a world of biazarre, beautiful and fascinating creatures right in my own back yard. Thank you. 🙂
Today I went out and found this beautiful gray and black spider carrying his lunch around my ceiling. I was thinking he was a wolf spider, but the markings seem off. Can you ID my special visitor? And of course he was removed from my kitchen and turned loose in my flower garden next to the back porch. Unfortunately he did lose his lunch in the process, but I’m sure he’ll find plenty of meals under the porch and amoung the flowers.
Signature: Mimi

Jumping Spider with Moth

Hi Mimi,
Thank you for your kind email.  Unfortunately, your photo lacks the kind of clarity needed for a positive identification, but we are nearly certain the spider is one of the harmless Jumping Spiders in the family Salticidae.  These are generally small spiders that do not build webs to snare prey.  Instead, they use their keen eyesight to stalk prey, often pouncing from a considerable distance relative to the size of the spider.  Jumping Spiders do not pose a threat to humans.  You can see by browsing BugGuide that there are many similar looking Jumping Spiders among the more than 315 species known from North America.

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.

5 thoughts on “What Do Jumping Spiders Eat? A Quick Insight on Their Diet”

  1. Hey I foun this spider its thiodina sylvana I don’t know what they eat if u know give me a list of all things u know they eat plz I’m curious lol and I have an exhibit for them its huge making it perfect I’ve seen my female eat a tiny spider before and my two other females witch were other species idk what they r but she ate the cuz she was ready to lay eggs and I guess she was lucky enough to survive the incubation and I have to males one is another species its the same as the eaten females thoe and my other male is the same he’s a thiodina sylvana and he’s desperate to mate with my female all he does is dance I guess he had the experience before cuz he hasn’t been eaten he jumps back and runs when my female closes in for a kill or whatever so can u tell me what they eat and how to get them to mate plz.
    I have a nursery for her to by herself and maybe I’ll add plants
    So if u can please help me out it would be super helpful thanks. Bye bye

    Reply
    • keeping multiple spiders in the same habitat might result in one very well fed spider surviving. You can buy small crickets from a pet store to feed captive spiders.

      Reply
  2. Hey I foun this spider its thiodina sylvana I don’t know what they eat if u know give me a list of all things u know they eat plz I’m curious lol and I have an exhibit for them its huge making it perfect I’ve seen my female eat a tiny spider before and my two other females witch were other species idk what they r but she ate the cuz she was ready to lay eggs and I guess she was lucky enough to survive the incubation and I have to males one is another species its the same as the eaten females thoe and my other male is the same he’s a thiodina sylvana and he’s desperate to mate with my female all he does is dance I guess he had the experience before cuz he hasn’t been eaten he jumps back and runs when my female closes in for a kill or whatever so can u tell me what they eat and how to get them to mate plz.
    I have a nursery for her to by herself and maybe I’ll add plants
    So if u can please help me out it would be super helpful thanks. Bye bye

    Reply

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