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.


  1. I don't know if I've ever seen this exact jumping spider, Shelly, but I do agree with you that they can be cute. Those eyes in your picture are amazing, and I kind of love the fact that they follow our movements and make it obvious visually; it makes me feel more like we are able to have a conversation. (Although lack of visual confirmation certainly doesn't stop me from talking to bugs. ;)

    Yay for the return of bug life to your area! Ours is well underway, and it really is part of the excitement of the season, as I posted recently. I got my first mosquito bite this evening, and my hubby just pointed out some bees living in small holes in the ground when we were out among the strawberries a minute ago. If I can ever get a good photo, I might ask you for an expert opinion as to what they are. :)

  2. Shelly-one of my favorites but I think you know that by now. :-)

  3. Jumping Spiders are one of my favorites, right along with Crab Spiders. There is something so personable about them. I frequently talk to bugs, occasionally I beg them to "please sit still, so I can take your pictures" does it work? Not so much, but it never hurts to

    I am so excited by the return of spring, each day something new is blooming or buzzing around. Today the Wild Plum and tulips were blooming.

  4. I had a feeling you would like this one Maria :o)

  5. I'm a big fan of araneids and (of all things) theridiids in general, but still, Phidippus johnsoni may be my all-time favortie arachnid!

  6. I think I am in agreement with you James, this is the first time I've ever seen this species, but it was so beautiful and charming (can a spider be charming?) I am hooked.

  7. How did the name Johnson Jumper come to be?

    I am writing a childrens book for my grandchildren and their last name is Johnson. I am incorporating this spider into the story simply because of it's name. But, I can't seem to find an answer of how they came up with this name. I believe that Peckman & Peckman discovered it.

  8. From what I read this is why these pretty little spiders are called Johnson Jumping Spiders.
    "This species is named for Prof. O. B. Johnson, of Washington University, Seattle, W. T., to whose kindness many are indebted to for an interesting collection of Washington Territory arachnida."
    Hope this was helpful...and thanks for stopping by and looking around.

  9. Thank you!

    I am hoping to publish my book and I would like to credit this site for helping me in my research.

    Would you have any problems with this.

    Looking at the raccoon staring at me from the side bar reminds me of a wonderful book by Sterling North called "Rascal".

    Thank you again for your prompt answer.

  10. You're welcome. What kind of a book are you writing? I also have written a book on Missouri Insects and I am looking for a publisher.
    You can quote anything you like from this blog, but I will tell you that the Johnson Jumper information came from

    Rascal would be a good name for that raccoon. I've had her for almost 3 1/2 months (since she was a week old). She is ornery and into everything. She should be ready to release in September. I have never read the Sterling North book, I may have to remedy that. :o)

    You're welcome....and best of luck to you on your book. I look forward to hearing all about it.

  11. I am writing a children's story which I hope will be entertainng for children and families.

    A friend of mine, who lives in France, is the one who told me about the jumping spider and this was so intriguing that I decided to put a chapter in my book about it. I think children will enjoy this chapter and hopefully look at nature in a very different way.

  12. I saw one of these on 3/10/11 in Norco, California. First time I've seen one, so I did a little research. I put a credit card close to it to see if it would run away and it lifted its 2 front legs up in a defense posture. I could see the little black fangs from a pretty good distance...and the shiny green mouth parts. Interesting spider.

  13. I HAVE ONE OF THOSE! I live in alaska and think it came up on a car or something. A lady came by and got her husband and son to go running after it and place it in a small clear plastic container. Poor thing left with my co-worker on a road trip in her purse with no water or food for 3 days. It came back to the office still alive so now I have a pet spider named Thomas Johnson. So far it has doubled in size.


  14. Found one (a male) crawling around inside my truck. Looked ugly enough and I squished it- all this orange puss came out of its abdomen. Sorry PETA, not worth the painful bite if I had left it alone. Couldn't use a twig to get rid of it 'cause it was a fasst sucker, too.

  15. In Wisconsin my grandpa got a shipment of clay pigeons and to my surprise and horror due to being deathly afraid of spiders I saw one of these which I am pretty sure are not native to the region so I took a picture so I could id it then came the hard part cause this thing followed my movement and lifted its legs in a defensive posture now a few years ago I would have killed it simply due to my extreme fear of spiders which I still have but I believe more in karma and try to avoid menevelantly killing small creatures who are simply doing what comes naturally so I got a twig and brushed it off and continued to finish unloading the pallet

    Overall interesting spider reminded me of those turantulas who chase people cause this thing always turned to face me while holding its ground she had a little stripe on her spider butt so I was able to identify her as a female she was a tough lady and probably wouldn't have hesitated to bite me had I not noticed her.

    At first I thought you guys were a bit weird but to each their own and most of you genuinely seam to care about them and I can respect that