Bold Jumper

Phidippus audax

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Photo of a bold jumping spider.
To identify the white-spotted, or bold jumping spider, note the fuzzy, usually black body with white, orange, or reddish spots on the abdomen.
Donna Brunet
Other Common Name
White-Spotted Jumping Spider
Family

Salticidae (jumping spiders) in the order Araneae (spiders)

Description

The bold jumper, or white-spotted jumping spider, is like many other jumping spiders: it is fuzzy, walks with jerky movements, jumps astonishingly long distances, and doesn't build webs.

To identify this species, note the fuzzy, usually black body with spots on the abdomen. The cephalothorax (head) is often larger than the oval abdomen and is a solid black or reddish brown. There are often several white (or orange or reddish) spots on top of the abdomen, a central spot being the largest. The chelicerae (fangs) are iridescent green or blue.

Size

Length (not including legs): ¼ to ¾ inch (females); males are usually less than ½ inch.

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Photo of a bold jumping spider.
White-Spotted Jumping Spider (Bold Jumping Spider)
Note the red-orange abdominal spots and iridescent green fangs of this "white-spotted" jumping spider.

Bold_Jumper_Phidippus_audax_D_Bruns.jpg

Photo of a bold jumping spider with an orangish abdomen spot
Bold Jumper
Although often called the white-spotted jumping spider, bold jumpers may have red or orange spots instead.

Bold_Jumper_Phidippus_audax_retreat_D_Bruns.jpg

Photo of a jumping spider's silken retreat among dried leaves on a plant stalk
Bold Jumper Retreat
Bold jumpers create retreats for themselves and their egg cases in dried leaves, against crevices of rocks, and other secure places.
Habitat and conservation

Bold jumpers are often found on broad-leafed plants (such as milkweed) in open areas and on tree trunks, fence posts, and house or barn siding. As with other jumping spiders, silk-spinning is limited to a single "tether" line for safety when exploring or when jumping great distances, and for making cocoon-like retreats to hide in and to protect their eggs.

Foods

Insects, especially true bugs and caterpillars, and other spiders appear to be the preferred prey. Jumping spiders have excellent eyesight and are visual predators. The two large eyes facing the front afford good binocular or 3D vision, which helps them jump with accuracy, while the other six eyes are positioned over the head to provide 360-degree views. Once detected, prey is generally pounced upon, grabbed, bitten, and consumed.

image of White Spotted jumping Spider Bold Jumping Spider Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide.

Status

Also called the daring jumping spider. The Latinized species name, audax, has the same root as our word "audacious." It is found in much of the United States and southeastern Canada.

Life cycle

Jumping spiders have fascinating courtship dances, where the male waves his forelegs, displays his colorful chelicerae, and drums the ground in rhythmic patterns. These motions and patterns work as a code to signal to females that the is not to be considered food. Eggs are laid in silken cocoons in small crevices throughout the summer. Eggs, young, and adults all can overwinter in spun cocoons under tree bark, in curled-up leaves, and in other tight niches.

Human connections

Jumping spiders are active, curious creatures, and many people believe they can observe us with their "goggles" as we watch them. Though they can bite if squeezed or otherwise molested, the bite is harmless. Like all spiders, it controls insect populations.

Ecosystem connections

Spiders are little predators that help to control populations of the insects they capture. Being small themselves, they easily fall prey to larger predators such as birds, reptiles, and mammals. Many animals eat their eggs. In winter, many songbirds hunt in fissures of bark and other crevices for hibernating spiders.