A common but rare-looking spider

It’s cranking hot in the Algarve today, and will be for the foreseeable future, which is why I’m now looking through my vacation photos and sighing over pictures of misty lakes, shady old growth forests, and me in clothing that I can’t even imagine wearing right now. (Was I really wearing Polarfleece just a few weeks ago?)

Amongst those photos, I found this one:

Phidippus audax

…which I took in my parents’ backyard. I had been standing out on the patio, video chatting with my wife via iPad, when I suddenly interrupted myself with a shout of “Oh, COOL!” Hastily I explained to my justifiably confused wife that I had just spotted the biggest, baddest, most awesome spider making its way across my parents’ kitchen window. Then, courtesy of the marvels of the 21st century, I showed her the spider via live video chat across 9,000 kilometers. We really do live in an amazing world.

After this, my poor wife had to play second fiddle to a spider as I dropped the iPad on the kitchen table and ran for my camera. The spider was not too happy about a camera lens being pushed into her face, but she tolerated it and neither ran away nor made threat poses, instead walking steadily up the window to the wall above. (I say “she” because, given the impressive 2 cm size of this spider, it was almost certainly female.)

After the photos and an apology to my patient wife, I hit the web and began researching. It didn’t take long to come up with an answer: Phidippus audax, also called the daring jumping spider, or the bold jumping spider. Given the spider’s attitude toward my camera, the names seem quite appropriate.

Wikipedia says this is a “common jumping spider of North America.” Common, pah. Just look at her. Does she look common to you? I didn’t think so.

The Encyclopedia of Life rates this species as “confident.” Now that, I agree with.

(Click the image to arachnicize.)

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
This entry was posted in life, Oregon. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A common but rare-looking spider

  1. Lockwood says:

    Speaking of Oregon Spiders, I came across this earlier: “Velociraptor spider discovered in Oregon cave” http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0817-hance-new-spider-family.html

  2. Alma says:

    Beautiful! Lovely chelicers. (And I don’t think Maria minded too much, being a spider fan herself…)

  3. So, when you have an image of something and you want to find out what it is via the internet, how do you go about doing that?

    • oregon expat says:

      Tin Eye is the best option, but in this case it didn’t work. Old-fashioned sleuthing did, though — I googled “Oregon spiders,” which led me to a site featuring photos of Portland spiders, which led me to a photo that looked somewhat similar but not exactly like it. That gave me a scientific name to try, which I plugged into Google Images, which turned up a ton of images looking exactly like my spider. Score.

  4. Cathy White says:

    Lol, Lockwood you beat me to it with the new spider info. Heard it on the BBC news this morning and immediately thought of OE. Loved the description, fearsome front claws, Trogloraptor….. Cave Robber.

    Cwhitenz

  5. Power Wench says:

    She’s beautiful!

  6. xenatuba says:

    I was curious when I read that part about removing them from the cave, putting them in the lab, and not being able to get them the food they’d eat. Weird, I thought…but then I am used to folks in Oregon doing some odd things. I do think it is cool that a Deschutes County deputy was involved in the discovery…

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