Monday, April 12, 2010
Johnson Jumping Spider
Johnson Jumper (Phidippus johnsoni) are spiders in the family Salticidae which are the jumping spiders. These spiders can be intimidating, they have incredible eyesight and will follow you with their eyes, always keeping track of where you are. They are capable of jumping, and to have one jumping "at you" can certainly startle you. For some reason I just think these little guys are adorable. Look at those eyes, do they not look like a cartoon come to life?
The Johnson Jumping Spider is black and orange and approximately 3/8 of an inch long. Females will have a dark line running down their abdomen, whereas males have a solid orange abdomen. They have bright teal-colored chelicerae, their fangs are quite large and if provoked they can give a painful bite. The spider pictured here seemed to be very tolerant of me, and even hopped around on my hand. He at no time acted aggressive, even though this particular species is reported to sometimes be vigorously energetic. They are not reported to be harmful to humans, in fact considering all the insects they will stalk and consume I would say the opposite is true. I would consider them quite beneficial.
With the return of warmer weather here in NW Missouri we are beginning to see an increase in insect activity, I for one am grateful. These jumping spiders are quite common and with 4,000 known species within this family of spiders there is no shortage of unique and beautiful specimens to find.