Regal Jumper

This week for Flora and Fauna Friday we have a precocious and handsome arachnid: the Regal Jumper (Phidippus regius).

The Regal Jumper is a large member of the Jumping Spider family, Salticidae, who often reaches three-quarters of an inch in length. They’re common in maritime forests, meadows, and yards across Edisto Island. They most oft pitch their silken sleeping tents in the cracks or hollows of trees but are immensely fond of sunny birdhouses too. Their body is stubby and monochrome with cold-white markings on a matte-black background. When seen overhead, their abdomen bears an inverted smiley face, nose and all. Their bottomless, polished eyes of glass stare deep into yours as their jaws glitter in irresistible iridescence. Shimmering jade or glimmering variegation of sapphire and amethyst pierce out behind bushy gray whiskers, distracting from mammoth fangs like eagle talons. As you turn your head to study this enticing creature it pivots in place. Its gaze is directly on your face, watching you warily all the while. Fully conscious of your intrusion, its annoyance is palpable as it firmly stands its ground against the trespass of your presence.

Jumping Spiders are particularly personable in the spider world due to their large, forward-facing eyes and bold personalities. Regal Jumpers are no exception, although they’re more ornery than most. These traits help them avoid the scorn other spiders receive from us but are merely consequences of their ecology. If a Black Widow is a viper and an Orbweaver a lion, the Jumping Spider is a fox. Jumping Spiders do not spin webs nor do they lie in wait for a premeditated ambush, they hunt their prey on foot with wit and perception. Regal Jumpers patrol leaf, limb, and litter alike for careless insects. They use their large forward eyes and three extra side sets to see their world in great detail and depth. When they locate prey, they place a tether of silk to the substrate beneath them before explosively propelling themselves forward, arms outstretched, onto the backs of their quarry. If they miss, their silken lifeline breaks their fall. Jumping Spiders launch themselves many times their body length through the assistance of a specialized circulatory system. Rather than develop oversized muscles, like grasshoppers, Jumping Spiders use their hemolymph (AKA “bug-blood”) like a hydraulic suspension. They swell their leg muscles with blood to catapult forward. Like every spider, Regal Jumpers subdue their prey with venom. They do not bite unless roughly handled and their venom is harmless, albeit painful.

News & Events

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events!

See The Calendar

Latest News

See more News