- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Who's that knocking on our front door?
Actually, we didn't hear it knock. It appeared out of nowhere and climbed up to our doorbell.
We gingerly placed the jumping spider, Phidippus audax, in a vial to transport it to our backyard bee garden.
Phidippus audax, aka P.A., was not all that happy in that vial. As soon as we opened the lid, out he scrambled.
Several mornings later, we saw P.A. sleeping on a lavender stem next to four male bumble bees (Bombus californicus).
This particular jumping spider is commonly called the "daring jumping spider" or the "bold jumping spider." It can reportedly jump 10 to 50 times its own body length. Its iridescent metallic green chelicerae is a sight to see.
"Like other jumping spiders, due to their large, forward-facing eyes, they have very good stereoscopic vision," says Wikipedia. "This aids them when stalking prey, and allows some visual communication with others of their species, such as courting 'dances.'"
"This spider is regularly found in grasslands and fields, but can also be recurrently seen on exterior walls, fences and in gardens," Wikipedia points out. "Most jumping spiders tend to prefer flat, vertical surfaces which allow the spiders to spot and hunt down wandering insects easily.
Will P.A. stalk our sleeping bumble bees? Maybe we need to do a bed count every morning...