Jumping Spiders: How to Identify These Harmless Hunters

If you have to have spiders in your house have jumping spiders. The venom from jumping spiders is harmless to humans, and the darn things look cute.

Jumping spiders are truly fascinating arachnids. They don’t wait in their web for a meal; they hunt it down. The male jumping spider woos his potential mate with song and dance. And jumping spiders have excellent vision.

Oh, and jumping spiders can jump. Boy, can they jump!

So, If you just found a jumping spider in your house, wait for a second and read all about it. Then, hopefully, you’ll let it live.

Related: How to identify and get rid of Black Widow Spiders.

Related: How to identify huntsman spiders.

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Jumping spider. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/aep33

Jumping spiders: Description.

Jumping spiders are spiders in the family Salticidae, consisting of over 6,000 species and making it the most prominent family of spiders. Jumping spiders are well known for their ability to jump long distances and for the excellent vision provided by their two large anterior median eyes.

Jumping spiders range from 1/25” to 1” in length. There is no limit to their body colors or patterns. However, male jumping spiders are more colorful than the more often dull-colored females.

And, of course, there are the eyes of the jumping spider. It has four pairs of eyes, two of which (the anterior median eyes) are almost comically large and sit next to each other on the spider’s flat face

Cute, right? Indeed, cute enough to keep as pets.

Related: How long do ants live?

Related: What do ants eat?

How jumping spiders hunt their prey.

Jumping spiders hunt like humans. Some salticid species hunt their prey like human archers hunt deer by taking a high, seated position and then stalking any prey they observe. 

Other jumping spiders use the spider version of the “still hunting.” Still hunting is used by bear hunters who continually move, stop, scan, and move again. 

Jumping spiders prefer to ambush their prey instead of running after them and chasing them down. To do this, jumping spiders are willing to take the less traveled road. They will take meandering routes climbing trees and branches and circling behind the vegetation, even to the point where they lose visual contact with their target.

Related: How to identify the Brazilian wandering spider.

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Jumping spider. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Hendra Syafie

How the jumping spider catches prey.

After completing its stalk and getting close enough to see its prey, the jumping spider will stop for a moment. Then, it will spend a few minutes waiting and watching, seemingly puzzling out if this is a suitable target for it.

If the target is prey, the jumping spider will attach a dragline (an anchor using a strand of its web). This dragline is a safety device to prevent it from falling if it misses its target. It will then get to within slightly less than its leaping distance, take a few steps back, and then jump. 

Upon landing on its prey, the jumping spider injects its fast-acting venom with a quick bite delivered so fast the victim has no time to react. Because the jumping spider does not bind its prey in a web of silk, the venom is its sole immobilizing tool.

Related: Tarantula bites.

Related: Tarantulas: Appearance, diet, and mating.

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How to identify and get rid of fire ants.

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How to get rid of harvester ants.

Jumping spiders and their mating behavior.

Love is in the eye of the beholding jumping spider. That excellent vision we’ve mentioned a few times? That vision plays heavily into the mating rituals of jumping spiders.

Jumping spiders hold intricate, visual courtship displays that include dances and physical attributes. Males entirely use their vividly colored bodies and zigzagging, sliding, and reverberating dance moves. 

If the female finds the male jumping spider suitable, she will do nothing more than crouch and await his approach. First, the male will extend his legs toward her and touch her as he does. Then, he will mount her and insert his sperm-covered palps in the reproductive organ on her abdomen if she accepts him.

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Jumping spider guarding her eggs in her retreat. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Simon Shim

Jumping spiders: Where do they live?

Jumping spiders do not create webs to catch their prey. Instead, jumping spiders build “retreats.” Retreats are more loosely woven and serve only to protect the spider and house the female and her eggs.

You will find jumping spider retreats inside your home under chairs and tables, near windows and doors, or tucked between cracks in wood flooring. Outside, jumping spiders build their retreats on leaves, tight spaces in wood piles, and in crevices in tree bark.

Jumping spiders have poor night vision and spend the night in their retreats. During the day, they are attracted to sunlit areas inside your home (windows are a favorite as other insects will be drawn to them). Outside, you’ll find jumping spiders running everywhere the sun has brightened (pool decks, fences, patio stones, etc.).

Aside from the odd, likely trapped against its will, window-dwelling jumping spider, jumping spiders are not inclined to live inside your home. Indeed, you will never find you have an infestation of jumping spiders

Are jumping spiders dangerous?

Jumping spiders will only bite you in self-defense. Indeed, they will flee from you, even if they are protecting their egg sacs. Yes, they possess fangs and venom, but that venom is not poisonous nor a medical concern for humans. 

When treating any spider bite, clean the wound with soap and water and apply a cold compress. Adults can take aspirin or an antihistamine (consult your doctors first) to help ease any pain. Consult your physician if symptoms persist for more than a day or worsen.

How to keep jumping spiders out of your home.

Jumping spiders really are not interested in nesting inside your home. However, it is possible they will forage around and cause potential problems.

To keep jumping spiders outside and away:

  1. Consider using a broadcast spider killer to create an acrobat ant-proof, 5,000-square-foot perimeter around your home for the next 12 months. It also can be applied directly to existing webs.
  2. Cut back any vegetation that could serve as a bridge for acrobat ants to access your foundation (or roof for squirrels).
  3. Seal off any holes or cracks around windows, pipes, conduits, or doors. I like to use pest blocker foam to keep hornets out of the sheds on my farm.

Having said all that, I implore you NOT to use pesticides to control completely harmless jumping spiders.

Common jumping spiders found the house.

jumping spider
Beautiful male Phidippus apacheanus jumping spider on light blue background. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Sari Oneal

Apache jumping spiders: Identification.

The Apache jumping spider (Phidippus apacheanus) is a jumping spider in the family of Salticidae. It is found in the United States, Mexico, and Cuba.

The colorful and impressive Apache jumping spider is quite large; the petite males measure a minuscule 1/10 of an inch, while female counterparts can exceed 8/10 of an inch. Most are black with orange, red, or yellow accents on top and feature a distinctive black line across their abdomen and iridescent green chelicerae.

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Closeup of a very handsome male Phidippus putnami jumping spider holding a fly in his pedipalps on a light background. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Sari Oneal

Phidippus putnami jumping spider: Identification.

The Phidippus putnami jumping spider comes in four basic colors (black, blue, white, and brown). Males may reach 1/3 of an inch in length, females 1/2.

This jumping spider appears to stand taller than any other species of jumping spider.

Bold jumping spider. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Safwan Rozi

Bold jumping spiders: Description.

Bold jumping spiders are unmistakable creatures – females reach up to .6 inches in body length, whereas the males strand an oval abdomen, making them easy to spot!

The Bold jumping can easily be identified by its white triangular mark in the center of its back, accompanied by two more minor spots beneath it. Its upper abdomen is also marked with a distinct lateral white band that distinguishes this species. However, what stands out most about these creatures are their tremendous and powerful legs: males have distinctive fringes on their legs and pedipalp, while females boast a longer fourth pair of legs than those found on male specimens.

The chelicerae of adult males glisten emerald green and boast spectacular markings and tufts of fur over the eyes, whereas spiderlings’ chelicerae display orange hues that gradually lighten with age. Furthermore, Bold jumping spiders come in various sizes and colors depending on their habitat location.

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Male Pelegrina proterva, Common White-Cheeked jumping spider devouring a fly as big as he is. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Sari Oneal

Common white-cheeked jumping spiders: Description.

The female Common white-cheeked jumping spider measures up to a whopping 3 and 1/16 inches (5.6 mm) in length, while the male is significantly smaller at an eighth of an inch long. Both sexes boast leg spans ranging from one-quarter to five-sixteenths inches wide.

Easily visible from the side is the Common white-cheeked jumping spider’s cephalothorax, which stands upright and convex. Its carapace has a rusty brown hue with two broad white stripes on either side and black shades outlining its eyes. An interesting fact about this arachnid is that only 2/5 of its head is covered by four pairs of eyes in three separate rows, creating an optical illusion.

A striking white band spreads across the forehead and extends down to meet with the top of the AMEs, flanked by a broad white stripe on each side. Between these stripes lies an area of darkness that separates them from one another.

Additional identification tips.

Atop the mouth (clypeus) lies a narrow plate that holds a diamond-shaped patch of white scales between the AMEs. Furthermore, distinct brown chelicerae serve as jaw equivalents and lack pale scales or ridges close to its base fang. Meanwhile, males possess iridescent bronze abdomen colored with broad white stripes on each side. At the same time, females feature tan or yellowish abdomens contrasted by four pairs of black spots divided by oblique to transverse white lines.

The legs of the Common white-cheeked jumping spider are short, angled forward, and specifically adapted for leaping. The males have black and white bands that form distinct rings, while the females’ legs possess a yellowish hue with brown circles or spots.

Asian Wall Jumping Spider (Sitticus fasciger). License.

Asiatic wall jumping spiders: Description.

Asiatic wall jumping spider (Attulus fasciger) is a tiny exotic spider from Asia. It is native to Korea, Japan, China, Mongolia, and Russia.

It was introduced into North America in the 1950s and has expanded its range rapidly with the unwitting help of humans. It is now widespread east of the Rocky Mountains.

Magnificently equipped, the female Asiatic wall jumping spider measures between ⅛″ to 3⁄16″ in length without her elegant legs. The male counterpart is slightly more petite and falls within a similar size range. Its carapace (plate covering cephalothorax) is broad and rounded on the sides; usually, it appears dark brown or black but has white and brown hairs enrobing its body.

Looking closer…

Additionally, white strands form an identifiable longitudinal line down its center for further distinction from other species.

The abdomen of the Asiatic wall jumping spider is a warm brown, with dark and light hairs that are densely packed. On the anterior portion, you will find two distinct bands with white spots; on the posterior area, there are two large white dots.

The legs present short yellow tones outlined in black rings containing bristles. Female Asiatic wall-jumping spiders have a broader abdomen with lighter brown hues accompanied by subtle yellows markings across its body.

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Male jumping spider (Pseudeuophrys erratica), shot in Hankasalmi, Finland, on June 24, 2016. License.

Black-palped jumping spider: Description.

The Black-palped jumping spider (Pseudeuophrys erratica) is an uncommon jumping spider species found throughout Europe. These spiders typically hide under rocks or the bark of trees in forest fringes. Yet, its closely related counterpart – P. lanigera – is far more widespread and is solely located by buildings. This unique creature must have some captivating qualities; discover why this remarkable arachnid has caught your eye today.

In the spring and summer months, male black-palped jumping spiders grow to be 3-4 millimeters in size, while females can reach lengths of 5mm. You may spot a female black-palped spider even during fall.

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Eris militaris, Bronze jumping spider. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Justin Starr Photography

Bronze jumping spiders: Description.

The Bronze jumping spider (Eris militaris) enjoys an expansive geographical range, stretching across most of the continental United States and Canada – a trait that only a few salticids possess.

Male Bronze jumping spiders of this species have a dark cephalothorax with white bands along the sides and elongated chelicerae protruding from the front. The abdomen is lighter in color than the head, featuring lateral stripes again of white.

Females share similar traits but lack these distinctive longitudinal stripes, showing short white lines near their heads and an arrangement of longer dorsal spots on their abdomens. In size, females range between 6-8mm, while males are typically 5-7mm long.

flea jumping spider
Absolutely adorable, tiny little Naphrys pulex jumping spider holding his pedipalps up. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Sari Oneal

Flea Jumping spider: Description.

The Flea jumping spider (Naphrys pulex) is a widely-distributed spider of the Salticidae family, native to Canada and America, and has been dubbed a separate species by entomologists.

Male Flea jumping spiders present an eye-catching sight, with their cephalothorax and abdomen boasting a stunning pattern of gray and black mottling, complemented by vibrant orange coloring around the sides.

dimorphic jumping spider
A close-up of a sub-adult Dimorphic Jumping Spider (Maevia inclemens). Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Justin Starr Photography

Dimorphic jumping spiders: Description.

The Dimorphic jumping spider (Maevia inclemens)  is relatively common and colorful in North America.

Two distinct forms are identified in the rare zoological occurrence of Dimorphic jumping spiders.

These variants employ contrasting courtship methods and appear differently – namely, the “tufted” form has a black body with three dark tufts across its head along with light-colored legs; conversely, the “gray” morph features an array of black and white stripes covering its entire body as well as orange palps in place of tufts.

Despite these considerable differences, each species makes up half of all adult males observed to be equally successful when mate-seeking. Furthermore, a female Maevia inclemens spider can measure anywhere from 0.25 to 0.30 inches long, while a male counterpart falls from 0.18 to 0.25 inches long.

The Dimorphic Jumping Spider is a dimorphic species aptly named for its two distinct forms. Males can be black with yellow legs or tan splashed with red marks on the abdomen, while females share similar coloring to that of their male counterparts but in paler tones.

Additional identification tips.

Additionally, males boast short hairs covering the body and pedipalps at the front of their face, assisting during reproductive mating rituals. With such striking differences between genders, it’s no wonder why this spider has earned its memorable name!

Boasting colors and abrupt movements, the Dimorphic Jumping spider is more visible than other spiders that belong to the Salticidae family. Not only does this aid its hunting of insect prey, it also aids in evading potential predators. In addition, this amazing arachnid can bound long distances with remarkable swiftness – it’s almost like a flash!

jumping spiders
Tan jumping spider. Photo credit: Shuitterstock.com/Gmgadani

Tan jumping Spiders: Description.

Like other jumping spiders, the Tan Jumping spider (Platycryptus undatus) is covered in fur and has two forward-facing goggle-like eyes that give it remarkable vision. It moves in a peculiarly jerky gait while also being gifted with extraordinary jumping abilities.

It’s spinning of silk includes creating a single tether line for additional security when exploring or traversing long distances and making cocoons to protect itself and its eggs from harm.

Females measure up to ⅝ inch in length (not including legs), while male counterparts typically reach no more than ⅜ inch.

The tan jumping spider is highly skilled at blending into its environment, featuring grays, tans, and browns that often contain flecks of black and white plus — in some cases — a reddish hue. Its look can range from zebra-like stripes to an even, gray pattern across its body; the abdomen also typically features undulating shapes for extra camouflage.

In addition, these spiders’ bodies are unusually flattened, which further aids in their concealment when necessitated.

The tan jumping spider’s pedipalps, those finger-shaped appendages close to the face, are usually encased in fuzz and pure white. Males have chelicerae (fangs that the pedipalps may conceal) that boast long, white hairs, while female chelicerae appear black and glistening with no hair present.

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Male red-backed jumping spider, Phiddipus johnsoni, feeding on cricket on a white background. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Ernie Cooper

Red-Backed jumping spider: Description.

Don’t mistake Phidippus johnsoni, a red-backed jumping spider commonly found throughout western North America, with the venomous Latrodectus hasselti, the redback spider. With its relatively large size compared to other jumping spiders, a red-backed jumping spider is one of the easiest species to recognize and identify.

With a length of .4 inches, the adult red-backed jumping spider has a bright red abdomen and shining teal chelicerae. Most of its body is black in coloration, with females having a different black central stripe. This species has evolved to mimic mutillid wasps from the genus Dasymutilla (“velvet ants”), which are around the same size and have similar colors and painful stings.

jumping spiders
White Jawed Jumping Spider. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Elaina Speaks

White-Jawed jumping spiders: Identification.

The Hentzia mitrata, otherwise known as the White-jawed jumping spider, is a species of Salticidae in North America and the Bahama Islands.

These small arachnids measure around 1/6 an inch long, with females usually larger than males. They are light brown with copper-hued hairs atop their heads; pale white marks can be seen along their back carapace and edges of their legs – making them easily distinguishable from other spiders.

jumping spiders
Closeup of a male Pelegrina galathea, Peppered Jumper, with his boldly marked face. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Sari Oneal

Peppered Jumping spiders: Description.

Peppered jumping spiders (Pelegrina galathea) are captivating jumping spiders native to North America. This graceful arthropod can be found from Canada all the way down to Costa Rica – but its favorite places are sunny grassy spots!

Peppered Jumping spiders are spiders in the family Salticidae, consisting of over 6,000 species and making it the most prominent family of spiders. Peppered jumping spiders are black and white in color—but remain nearly identical in all other respects to other species of jumping spiders.

Peppered Jumping spiders are well known for their ability to jump long distances and for the excellent vision provided by their two large anterior median eyes.

Peppered Jumping spiders range from 1/25” to 1” in length. There is no limit to their body colors or patterns. However, male jumping spiders are more colorful than the more often dull-colored females.

And, of course, there are the eyes of the peppered jumping spider. It has four pairs of eyes, two of which (the anterior median eyes) are almost comically large and sit next to each other on the spider’s flat face

jumping spiders
Lyssomanes viridis, commonly known as the magnolia green jumper, is a species of jumping spider of the genus Lyssomanes. This spider is a family of Salticidae.. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/fendercapture

Magnolia green jumper spiders: Description.

The Magnolia Green Jumper is one of the tiniest jumping spiders, with adult females scarcely measuring up to just 1/3 inch and males smaller than 1/4 inch. These little critters are mostly a pale, slightly translucent green hue – which gave them their common name – and have a rim of colorful scales around their eyes- in reds, oranges, yellows, or whites – forming like a crown atop the head.

Magnolia green jumpers have exceptionally long legs compared to the body, with a meager leap size of three to four times their body length. However, like most salticids, they possess highly intricate eyes and superb vision that is amongst the sharpest of all arthropods; their anterior median eyes are equipped with a telephoto quality like other jumping spiders but also incorporate elements from species whose evolution predates those of salticids.

Salticidae, such as Magnolia green jumpers, typically have impressive and vibrant chelicerae, which they use in combat. Additionally, their forelegs are similarly bright-hued and waved during visual confrontations for a stunning display.

Females tend to have less vibrant appendages and a far lower allometric slope than males. When two males engage, they will wave their forelegs to establish dominance over the other – if neither submits, physical combat ensues. Fights between males consist of pushing their chelicerae and forelegs against each other until one can no longer keep up with the strain and retreats from battle.

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Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for ThePredatorHunter.com.

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