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jumping spider

Q: What is the spider in these photos?

Q:  These are pictures of a beautiful spider that is about the size of a quarter with large eyes that are emerald green and it has a white marking on its back.  I thought it might be a jumping spider.  What do you think?

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

A:  Thanks for sharing your photo; it is a great picture of a terrific looking spider.  You have identified the spider correctly as a jumping spider, most likely a Regal Jumping Spider, Phidippus regius.  The males are always black but the females may have brown or orange scales on the abdomen.  The large, iridescent blue-green structures you saw are not eyes but chelicerae.  Chelicerae are mouth parts, which are pointed appendages used to grasp food. These are found in place of the chewing jaw structures such as those on grasshoppers.  The chelicerae found in spiders are hollow and contain (or are connected to) venom glands.  Chelicerae are used to inject venom into prey or a (perceived) threat.

Good thing you did not get too close or try to handle the spider as he would have considered you a threat.  Jumping spiders, like all spiders, are good hunters and we classify them as beneficial arthropods.  They have eight, tiny black, simple eyes, by the way, which are arranged in 3 just above the chelicerae.  But you would have to be very close to see them – probably too close for most of us to be comfortable.