Bold Jumper Spider

The jumping spiders are small, compact hunting spiders. Phidippus audax is the most common jumping spider seen in and around Pennsylvania homes.
Bold Jumper Spider - Articles


Eugene E. Nelson,

Salticidae—Jumping Spiders

(Phidippus audax)

The jumping spiders, as a rule, are relatively small, compact hunting spiders. They have very good eyesight and can pounce on their victims from a great distance. Spiders in the genus Phidippus are the largest-bodied of the salticids. Phidippus audax, the most commonly encountered jumping spider in and around Pennsylvania homes, is found from Canada and the Atlantic Coast states west to California.


P. audax is a black, hairy spider measuring 8 to 19 millimeters for the females and 6 to 13 millimeters for the males. There is a pattern of white, yellow, or orange spots on the top of the abdomen (orange on the younger spiders), and the chelicerae frequently have an iridescent green hue. The males have “eyebrows,” or tufts of hairs over the eyes. Occasionally, white bands extend back from the rear pair of eyes. The eyes located at the center of the front end of the cephalothorax are by far the largest and aid the spiders in capturing prey.

Life History

These spiders overwinter as nearly mature, or penultimate, individuals. They mature into adults in April and May, mate, and deposit eggs in June and July. The P. audax female suspends her eggs in a silken sheet within her retreat. In contrast to many other hunting spiders, jumping spiders require daylight to hunt their prey. They can be found on windowsills, tree trunks, and deck railings; under stones; and in other locations during daylight hours.

Medical Importance

Bold jumpers are shy spiders that retreat from humans when approached. If handled, they generally do not bite. When bites occur, minor pain, itching, swelling, and redness may persist for one to two days.


Baerg, W. J. 1936. The Black Widow. Ark. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bul. 325. 34 pp.

Baerg, W. J. 1959. The Black Widow and Five Other Venomous Spiders in the United States. Ark. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bul. 608. 43 pp.

Bradley, R. A. 2013. Common Spiders of North America. University of California Press. 271 pp.

Breene, R. G., et al. 2003. Common Names of Arachnids. 5th ed. The American Arachnological Society Committee on Common Names of Arachnids. 42 pp.

Gertsch, W. J., and F. Ennik. 1983. “The spider genus Loxosceles in North America, Central America, and the West Indies (Araneae, Loxoscelidae).” Bul Amer Mus. Nat. Hist. 175: 24–360.

Herms, W. B., and M. T. James. 1961. Medical Entomology. 5th ed. The Mac-Millan Company, New York. 616 pp.

Howell, W. M., and R. L. Jenkins. 2004. Spiders of the Eastern United States: A Photographic Guide. Pearson Education. 363 pp.

Isbister, G. K., and M. R. Gray. 2003. “Effects of envenoming by comb-footed spiders of the genera Steatoda and Achaearanea (Family Theridiidae: Araneae) in Australia.” J. Toxicol. Clin. Toxicol. 41: 809–819.

Kaston, B. J. 1948. “Spiders of Connecticut.” Conn. State Geol. Nat. Hist. Survey. Bull. 70. 874 pp.

Kaston, B. J. 1972. How to Know the Spiders. 3rd ed. Wm. C. Brown Company, Dubuque, Iowa. 272 pp.

Levi, H. W. 1959. “The Spider Genus Latrodectus (Araneae, Theridiidae).” Trans. Amer. Microscopical Soc. 78(1): 7–43.

Long, D., R. Snetsinger, and K. F. Helm. 1995. “Localized Pruritic Rash Due to Recurrent Spider Bites.” J. Geriatr. Dermatol. 3(6): 186–190.

McKeown, N., R. S. Vetter, and R. G. Hendrickson. 2014. “Verified spider bites in Oregon (USA) with the intent to assess hobo spider venom toxicity.” Toxicon 84: 51–55.