Bold Jumper (Phidippus audax) 102108
The photo on the right was taken by Paige S., somewhere in Texas. Note the pale markings on the femur of each front leg, and on the dorsum of each palp. The arrangement of white spots on the dorsal abdomen are definitive for the species. The bold jumper (Phidippus audax) is a common sight in North America, from southern Canada, throughout the United States, south to the northern portions of Central America. Inhabitants of Hawaii are treated to seeing this spider, too, as it has recently been transplanted there. This spider's common name reflects a ferociously pugnacious behavior. An active hunter with sharp vision, it stalks prey boldly, and defends its territory against even the largest animals, including man. Consequently, getting bitten by a bold jumper is not much of a challenge: just place a finger near it, playfully, until you overstay your welcome and, whammo! it leaps and bites with a vengeance. Fortunately, the bite is not of much medical significance, but merely produces a small reddened swelling that resolves in a few hours in most individuals, days in others, longer for particularly sensitive persons. The bold jumper is a member of the Salticidae family which, in North America, is represented by 63 genera and 315 species. See Ubick et al, , pages 205-207, 214, and 314, for additional details. The generic name, Phidippus, was given by Car Ludwig Koch Sr. (1778-1957), in 1846 (Hillyard , p.161). The word has Greek origins, and apparently means "One who spares the horses."
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