A Pantropical Jumping Spider from Walden Marina, Montgomery, Texas 3

BugsInTheNews is a VIEWER-PARTICIPANT WEBSITE. This article by Jerry Cates, first published on 21 January 2011, was revised last on 7 July 2012. © Bugsinthenews Vol. 12:01(07)

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Salticidae: Pantropical jumping spider (Plexippus paykulli), Dorsal view; SE Texas Marina--20 Sep 2010

Salticidae: Pantropical jumping spider (Plexippus paykulli), Dorsal view; SE Texas Marina--20 Sep 2010

Salticidae: Pantropical jumping spider (Plexippus paykulli), Male; Lateral view of dorsum; SE Texas Marina--20 Sep 2010

Salticidae: Pantropical jumping spider (Plexippus paykulli), Male; Lateral view of dorsum; SE Texas Marina--20 Sep 2010

The pantropical jumper (Plexippus paykulli) is a cosmopolitan species native to the tropics of Africa and Asia.

It has been introduced to Florida, as well as a number of other locales with extensive, tropical coastlines, probably from hitchhikers that escaped from seagoing vessels.

It is now commonly found in Texas, Mexico, throughout Central America, and in South America as far south as Paraguay.

The genus Plexippus was first described in 1846, by the German arachnologist Ludwig Carl Christian Koch who, in the same year, also described the genus Phidippus.

Both generic names are derived from Greek roots that refer to equine behavior, e.g., in the case of Phidippus, Koch seems to have meant the name to mean “One who spares the horses,” while in the case of Plexippus, his intent seems to have been “One who strikes (or drives) horses.”

The species Plexippus paykulli, was first described by the French naturalist Jean Victoire Audouin in 1826, under the binomial epithet Attus paykulli. The generic name Attus (Walckenaer 1805) has fallen into disuse; though it was used as late as 1903 by Bösenberg, since that date all the species previously listed in that genus have been transferred to other genera.

Salticidae: Pantropical jumping spider (Plexippus paykulli), Male; Head & eyes; SE Texas Marina--20 Sep 2010

Salticidae: pantropical jumper (Plexippus paykulli; Audouin, 1826); Male; Head & eyes; SE Texas Marina--20 Sep 2010

The specific name paykulli is in the genitive form, representing the surname Paykull, and almost certainly honors the Swedish ornithologist and entomologist Gustaf von Paykull, whose death—on 28 January 1826—was fresh on Audouin’s mind.

This spider is quite common around and inside buildings.

Several photos shown here were taken at a marina in southeast Texas, where it was searching for prey on the outside of a boat.

As the photo of the eyes shows, this species shares with the other jumping spiders in the Salticidae family a set of relatively large anterior eyes (see the AME and ALE eyes in the closeup of the head.

These eyes have remarkable acuity, a feature that assists it in finding and stalking prey.

This species doesn’t spin a web.

Instead, it crafts a retreat of silken strands, usually in an elevated corner, which serves as its primary abode.

From this abode it hunts for prey, which consist primarily of flying insects, some of which have been recorded as twice its size.

jc

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3 thoughts on “A Pantropical Jumping Spider from Walden Marina, Montgomery, Texas

  1. Reply A.Decker Aug 6,2013 5:24 pm

    Nice shots of a beautiful creature.
    I have a tiny one(maybe) living in or around my kitchen window(indoors) near Dallas, for a couple of months now. My eyes aren’t that good and I have no camera that can look that close, so I’m not sure it’s one of these jumpers, but the best I can tell it looks a lot like your pics here. I could be more sure if you could tell me how big they get. Mine’s only about a quarter inch long.
    I feel like we’re friends, the spider and I, since we’ve had several interesting interactions(he does good jumps!), and I want to blog about him/her and include drawings showing what he looks like, so that’s why I’m asking.
    So, mine being that small – 1/4″ – do you think it might be one of these?

    Thanks,
    A.Decker

  2. Reply S. DuRee Nov 28,2013 10:19 pm

    The Mystery Species of Cinnamon Sugar Steve (My Jumping Spider) Has Been SOLVED!

    I’ve been looking and searching all over the web (lol pun) and now I finally know what he or she is. Thank you.

    Story Time.
    You see, I was cleaning the kitchen sink when I saw a quite nice looking spider on the window curtain. I was all “WOW, What a nice spider.” I took a camera shot with my phone.

    Fast forward a few days later and I see a second spider, except bigger, but definitely the same species. I call my brother over to look at it and he says, “daaaaannng, lil’ shorty got a big butt.” Of course he used some different words, but you get the point. I did like the weird design on its abdomen; with the white dots and all. Heh, I guess you could say its bootyfull. LOL… Ahem, puns aside, I took a picture and a short video before it hid in the window.

    Fast forward again, and I see the soon to be Steve on the window in front of my desk area. I caught him in an empty spice cup, which the label read: “Cinnamon Sugar”, hence his full name. I noticed his abdomen is a little thinner than the previous spiders I’ve seen. I thought it’s because he is young. Nope. He was just thirsty, after a drop of water and a few tiny maggots he was looking healthy. I soon got him a bigger home, complete with small blue geodes and some petrified woods I had lying around. Figured he could use some furniture bling.

    I promised myself that I’d release him as soon as I found out what species he was… But It’s been at least two months and he shedded twice in that time and is almost as big as the one in the kitchen window; though I haven’t seen that one in forever. I’ve been feeding him a variety of insects; crickets, maggots, flies, and even some blood filled mosquitos. He seems to be okay, but he’s not leaving the cage. I left it open for two days and he didn’t leave (though he walked around to get the live food).

    … I’m just gonna stop here. I seem to be rambling on.

  3. Reply S. DuRee Nov 28,2013 10:31 pm

    Actually… Now I’m not so sure. He looks very alike, but he has four white spots over the darker stripes on his rump… :/

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