Phidippus regius, the regal jumping spider, is one of the largest species of the jumping spiders of the Phidippus genera. It occurs mostly in the Southeastern United States as well as the Caribbean and the Easter Islands. The largest share of its population can be found in the state of Florida. Over the last years, the spider has been introduced and established populations in the Western United States as well as on Hawaii.
Description of the Regal Jumping Spider
The regal jumping spider comes in three different appearances.
The male is always black with white bands around its legs. On its back, there are usually three white spots and a white stripe around the top of its abdomen. The white spots often resemble a smiley face – there are two almond-shaped or round spots at the end of the abdomen and a larger, triangular shape closer to the cephalothorax (head) that often looks like a mouth. The male can often be confused with the similar looking Daring Jumping Spider. If the spots on the back of the abdomen are orange, it is most likely a daring jumping spider.
The female comes in two appearances that are easier to identify.
The gray form of the female is mostly gray with some black bands on its legs and markings on the abdomen.
The orange form female has an orange-colored abdomen and cephalothorax while the legs look similar of the gray form female.
The average females reach a body size of 0.6 inches (15 mm) and can grow up to 0.9 inches (22 mm). Males are slightly smaller and can reach a size of up to 0.7 inches (18 mm). Phidippus regius is therefore one of the largest jumping spiders found in the United States.
As other jumping spider species, the regal jumping spider is a hunting spider and does not spin a web to catch prey. They only time they build a web is before a long or deep jump. With this “safety line”, their fall will end softly, if something goes wrong with the jump
As other jumping spiders, the regal spider usually runs away to hide rather than attack a human. While there are cases where people get bit, the bites are not a medical concern. They usually cause some local pain and swelling. At worst, it may lead to a mild headache and nausea which will pass.
Scientific Classification of Phidippus regius
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infraorder: Araneomorphae
- Family: Salticidae
- Genus: Phidippus
- Species: Phidippus regius
Distribution of the Regal Jumping Spider in the USA
The regal jumping spider can be found in the Southeastern and Western United States, most often in Florida and in these states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.
- Taxon details: World Spider Catalogue
- Binomial name from: Koch, 1846