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:
…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.)