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Bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Jumping spiders look (and behave) like they're full of personality -- highly visual and alert, active, and seemingly unafraid.   They're aggressive predators that act like big cats: stalking prey and attacking in a leap or a rush, then biting and wrestling it into submission (sometimes they go for insects much bigger than themselves).   This one is the widely-distributed 'bold jumping spider' Phidippus audax; it's found across much of the US but this one was collected in a parking lot in Riverside, California.  Males (like this one) are strikingly black and white, with brilliant green-blue iridescence on the chelicera.   Photographing this guy was a bit of a challenge because he refused to sit still for long; several times he jumped onto the camera or flash (with lots of foreleg-waving prior to the jump).
            Images of other jumping spiders are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

  • Canon 1D4, Canon MP-E 65 mm macro lens or Sigma 150 mm f2.8 macro lens with extension tubes, Canon ring-flash (2012)