Red and Black Jumping Spider

2014 June 14

I was watching a movie (“Despicable Me”) with the girls on July 7, 2013 when I noticed this rather large, mostly brick-red jumping spider landing on me, probably from the ceiling. So I popped it in a jar to save for after the movie was over. The spider was just about a centimeter long, making it one of the larger jumping spiders I’ve ever seen locally.

From the size, I’d expect it to be one of the big spiders in the Phidippus genus.

One would think the distinctive brick-red color would be more helpful in identification, but evidently not. The closest I can find is Phidippus cardinalis, but even though their coloration varies all over the place, none of them really look right. Plus, that species isn’t supposed to live anywhere near this far north.

Anyway, here’s the face shot so we can see the eyes, and the black chelicerae, so we can be sure it isn’t one of the species with iridescent chelicerae.

It’s also pretty clearly a male, as we can see from the enlarged pedipalps that he would use for mating. Here’s a close-up of the pedipalps so we can see a bit more detail.

There are turning out to be more species of jumping spiders around than I had realized. And if this really is P. cardinalis, it could be that a lot of new species are coming into the area lately, probably due to people carrying them in on their vehicles[1].

[1] For the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the construction of the Mackinac Bridge probably really accelerated the rate of small critters hitch-hiking on vehicles. Before the bridge was built, the long waiting periods for the ferries gave more opportunity for hitch-hikers to jump off before getting across the straits from downstate. For that matter, it isn’t out of the question that some creatures (particularly spiders) might actually walk across the bridge.

3 Responses
  1. June 15, 2014

    Normally, I’d say that there isn’t much in the world more beautiful than a jumping spider, but yesterday’s Ivory Coast comeback against Japan was pretty darned beautiful. Great photos, amigo, but they didn’t contain Didier Drogba or Wilfred Bony.


  2. Jorie O'Brien permalink
    June 27, 2014

    I found one of these guys on the front door to my house today (I live in Chocolay Township, MI). I believe it’s Phidippus whitmani. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I’ve only just found this blog and it’s great to have bug news and identification from someone in my neck of the woods!

  3. June 27, 2014


    Thanks, I agree that Phidippus whitmani looks more plausible (and the BugGuide range map seems to cover our area). And I’m glad to see that this is helpful to someone here in the area.

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