- Jan 11, 2008
I'm looking for a life history on Phidippus audax. Please share if you know of a good one. I've been having trouble locating one.
Phidippus audax, also known as the Bold Jumping Spider, is commonly described as being curious and intelligent, with a lot of athletic potential. Obtaining an adult size of 13-20mm, these spiders are known to jump lengths up to 50 times their size.
DISTRUBTION & PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
Phidippus audax has a large range throughout much of the United States. It is seen from New York down to Florida, over to Texas, Colorado, up to Minnesota, and most all states in between, as well as the Northeastern edge of Mexico. It is also noted in some areas of California and Washington (Young, 1990).
This specie is readily identified by its large size, compared to most other Phidippus sp., and metallic green or blue chelicerae. Mature females are larger in size compared to their male counterparts. Males average 89% the size of females (Roach, 1988). Females also have a more prominent pattern along their backsides. All P. audax have a nice contrasting pattern, but females retain the contrast with age; whereas, the pattern on males distorts and muddies up with age. After maturity, males will often appear darker in colouration compared to the female as well (Elias, 2010).
A readily distinctive feature of all Phidippus species deals with vision. Phidippus audax is no exception. Four large, forward-facing eyes assist the arachnid with vision and may assist in finding mates. The male of this species is known to perform a dance that attracts females. Having an advantage in the field of vision may assist females in watching this spectacle and choose a proper mate (Elias, 2010).
HABITAT & NICHE
Phidippus audax is most commonly found among shrubbery. In the field, this species is found along the edges of forests in higher concentrations, but is also commonly found in tallgrass prairie (Johnson, 1996; Roach, 1988). In the urban setting, these spiders are found in gardens and bushes. Phidippus audax bites more people annually than any other spider. This is mainly due to the strong attraction this species has to bushes and gardens. When a human goes out to manage the garden and disturbs a Bold Jumping Spider, the arachnid will sometimes jump out and bite an exposed area of flesh in an effort to defend its territory (Carducci and Jakob, 2000).
FOOD REQUIREMENTS & BEHAVIOR
Phidippus audax is an active predator (Johnson, 1996). Typically, this specie takes up refuge in bushes, small trees, and leafy plants. Where most spiders can rely on chemosensory perception to help hunt prey, P. audax relies almost entirely on its vision capabilities (Hoefler, 2002). Some potential prey items for P. audax include mealworms (Tenebrio molitor), caterpillars (Junonia coenia) (Strohmeyer, et al., 1998), Choleptera (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) and Diptera species (Johnson, 1996).
Environment may also play a role on how well Phidippus audax problem solves and hunts for food. A recent study concluded that the more diverse and stimulating an environment is during the developmental stages of P. audax, the more likely it is to solve simple problems such as obstacles, attacking prey, and investigating new environments (Carducci and Jakob, 2000).
REPRODUCTIVE/SOCIAL BEHAVIOR & PARENTAL CARE
Mating characteristics in Phidippus audax is fairly typical of most spiders. The process starts with the male molting out into maturity. At this point, he develops male characteristics. At this point, he will have hooks located at the second joint on the first set of legs. Jumping Spiders are not particularly known to build intricate webs, but do establish territories and create a series of trip wires to help capture prey. Males rarely eat after entering maturity and usually die while in this state, and spend most of their time wandering in search of females. When a female is located, a male may set up a small webbing in the nearby vicinity, called a sperm web. On this, he deposits sperm and recollects it in small packets located on the ends of his pedipalps. When he is ready to breed, he will begin drumming the ground near where the female resides. This is meant to garner attention from the female and increase the possibility of mating. If she is receptive, she will start drumming in unison with the male. Though, let it be noted that there have been cases of trickery. Females have been known to lure males in only to do so much as devour them (Okuyama, 20002). As they draw closer, the female will start to stand up on her back legs, and the male will support her via placing her fangs within his hooks. While in this position, the male will insert one of his pedipalps into the female’s epigyne region. He will alternate pedipalps until he uses up his available sperm. Afterwards, the two separate, and the male meanders off. If he stays close for too long, he will oftentimes become a prized dinner to provide nourishment for the female (Elias, 2010).
Phidippus audax has a mating season early on in the year, during the winter months. Egg sacs are laid between the months of March through May (Roach, 1988). Each egg sac will contain between 13 and 150 eggs, but the average is about 60 (Roach, 1988).
LONGEVITY, MORTALITY, & SURVIVAL STRATEGIES
Longevity is not a long studied part of arachnids. Recent research tends to suggest that Phidippus audax has an expected life span of at least 2-5 years (Roach, 1988; Carducci, 2000).
The Phidippus audax lacks any natural predators, but can be picked off by some birds. On the whole, these could be considered as apex predators.
Using stereoscopic vision, the P. audax is able to keep a keen eye on its prey and track it successfully. When the prey item comes into reach, the spider will lay a life-line of silk and jump up to 50 times its own length to snag a meal. To achieve this great jumping accomplishment, the spider not only jumps, but as it is going through the motion, hemolymph is pushed into the rear legs in order to stiffen them harder and stronger (Prestwich, 1988).
The Phidippus audax is an amazing specimen of its genus. This species earns its name as a bold and inquisitive spider. Often overlooked as “just another spider”, P. audax offers more. It’s curious nature allows a greater depth of interaction and experimentation than one would normally suspect. The field of arachnology has only recently uncovered the intelligent aspects of these creatures. May we continue to delve further and fully investigate how evolutionarily special these creatures are.
-Carducci, J., & Jakob, E. (2000). Rearing environment affects behaviour of jumping spiders. Animal Behaviour, 59(1), 39-46.
-Elias, Damian O., et al. (2010). Vibratory Communication in the Jumping Spider Phidippus clarus: Substrate-borne Courtship Signals are Important for Male Mating Success. Ethology 116.10.
-Hoefler, C., Taylor, M., & Jakob, E. (2002). Chemosensory response to prey in Phidippus audax (Araneae, Salticidae) and Pardosa milvina (Araneae, Lycosidae). Journal of Arachnology, 30(1), 155-158.
-Okuyama, T. (2002). The role of antipredator behavior in an experimental community of jumping spiders with intraguild predation. Population Ecology, 44(2), 121-125.
-Okuyama, T. (2008). Growth of a jumping spider on nitrogen enriched prey. Acta Arachnologica, 57(1), 47-50.
-Strohmeyer, H., Stamp, N., Jarzomski, C., & Bowers, M. (1998). Prey species and prey diet affect growth of invertebrate predators. Ecological Entomology, 23(1), 68-79.
-Johnson, S. (1996). Use of coleopteran prey by Phidippus audax (Araneae, Salticidae) in tallgrass prairie wetlands. Journal of Arachnology, 24(1), 39-42.
-Pprestwich K, N. (1988). The constraints on maximal activity in spiders I. Evidence against the fluid insufficiency hypothesis. Journal of Comparative Physiology Biochemical Systemic and Environmental Physiology, 158(4), 437-448.
-Roach S, H. (1988). Reproductive periods of Phidippus species araneae salticidae in South Carolina USA. Journal of Arachnology, 16(1), 95-102.
-Young O, P., & Edwards G, B. (1990). Spiders in USA field crops and their potential effect on crop pests. ESTS. Journal of Arachnology, 18(1), 1-28.