Red Backed Jumping Spiders: A Comprehensive Guide

The red backed jumping spiders, also known as the Phidippus johnsoni, is a fascinating and vibrant arachnid species found in North America. With its distinctive red marking on its abdomen, this spider stands out among its peers. Known for their incredible agility and stunning hunting techniques, these spiders are truly captivating creatures.

These small but mighty predators possess excellent vision and use it to their advantage when hunting prey. The red-backed jumping spiders have an impressive ability to leap several times their body length to catch their unsuspecting victims. Their keen eyesight helps them accurately judge distances and plan precise jumps, making them highly efficient hunters.

In conclusion: The red-backed jumping spider is a remarkable creature with its striking appearance and exceptional hunting skills. In the following sections of this article, we will delve deeper into the characteristics, behavior, and habitat of these intriguing arachnids.

Habitat of the Red Backed Jumping Spider

The red backed jumping spider, also known as Phidippus johnsoni, is a species of spider that can be found in various habitats across North America. Here are some key points about their habitat:

  • Geographical Distribution: Red backed jumping spiders are primarily found in the western regions of North America, including parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.
  • Preferred Environments: These spiders have adapted to thrive in diverse environments such as grasslands, shrublands, deserts, and even urban areas. They are commonly encountered on plants or low vegetation where they hunt for prey.
  • Microhabitats: Within their chosen environment, red backed jumping spiders may occupy specific microhabitats such as leaves or flowers. They use these locations not only for hunting but also for shelter and protection from predators.
  • Altitude Range: The altitude range at which red backed jumping spiders can be found varies depending on the geographical location. In general terms though they tend to inhabit lower elevation areas rather than high mountainous regions.
  • Temperature Preferences: This spider species tends to favor warm climates with temperatures ranging between 70°F (21°C) and 95°F (35°C). However they have been observed surviving in cooler temperatures as well thanks to their ability to regulate body temperature through basking in sunlight.

In conclusion, the red backed jumping spider has a wide distribution across Western North America and is adaptable when it comes to choosing its habitat. From grasslands to urban gardens, these small arachnids can make themselves at home wherever there is suitable vegetation and prey availability

Physical Characteristics of the Red Backed Jumping Spider

The red-backed jumping spider (Phidippus johnsoni) is a small arachnid with distinct physical features. Here are some key characteristics:

  1. Size: On average, adult red-backed jumping spiders measure around 0.5 to 0.7 inches in length.
  2. Coloration: The name “red-backed” comes from the prominent red stripe that runs longitudinally down its black abdomen. The rest of its body varies in color, ranging from black to dark brown.
  3. Eyes: Like other jumping spiders, the red-backed species has excellent vision due to large eyes on their cephalothorax (head). They possess four pairs of eyes arranged in a specific pattern: two large principal eyes facing forward, two smaller anterior lateral eyes beside them, and another pair of even smaller posterior lateral eyes at the back.
  4. Legs: These spiders have eight long and agile legs built for jumping and climbing surfaces with ease. Each leg is covered with fine hairs called setae that assist in sensory perception.
  5. Chelicerae and Fangs: Located beneath their front-facing principal eyes are powerful chelicerae armed with sharp fangs used for subduing prey during hunting.
  6. Vibrant Pedipalps: Male red-backed jumping spiders sport vibrant pedipalps projecting from their head region which they use as secondary sexual organs during courtship displays or territorial interactions.
  7. Camouflaging Ability: In addition to its striking colors, this species possesses an interesting ability known as “mimicry.” By altering its posture and movements, it can mimic ants or other insects to avoid potential predators or sneak up on prey unnoticed.

8.Silk Production: Although not known for constructing traditional webs like orb-weaving spiders do, the red-backed jumping spider uses silk threads for various purposes. They may use it to create shelters, secure egg sacs, or produce draglines while jumping.

Understanding the physical characteristics of the red-backed jumping spider provides valuable insight into its unique adaptations and behavior in its natural habitat.

Behavior and Hunting Techniques of the Red Backed Jumping Spider

The red-backed jumping spider is a fascinating creature known for its unique behavior and hunting techniques. Let’s take a closer look at how these spiders behave and hunt their prey:

  1. Hunting Strategy:
  • The red-backed jumping spider does not build webs like other spiders. Instead, it relies on its incredible vision, agility, and stealth to capture prey.
  • These spiders are active hunters that rely on ambush tactics rather than trapping their prey.
  • They patiently wait in well-camouflaged positions until an unsuspecting insect comes within striking distance.
  1. Jumping Abilities:
  • As their name suggests, these spiders have exceptional jumping abilities. They can leap up to 50 times their body length with extreme precision.
  • Their powerful leg muscles allow them to pounce quickly and accurately onto their prey or escape from potential threats.
  1. Visual Senses:
  • Red-backed jumping spiders have excellent vision compared to many other arachnids.
  • Their large front-facing eyes provide them with sharp depth perception and color vision.
  1. Courtship Rituals:
    • Courtship rituals among red-backed jumping spiders involve intricate displays performed by males to attract females.
    • Males perform elaborate dances while waving their legs, vibrating their bodies, or displaying colorful abdominal patterns as part of courtship rituals.
  2. Communication Tactics:
    • Male red-backed jumping spiders use visual communication during courtship display routines.
    • Through specific movements and postures, males convey messages about fitness levels, intentions, and readiness to mate.
  3. Predatory Behavior:
    • These agile predators primarily feed on small insects such as flies or beetles but may also consume other small arthropods if available.
    • Once they spot potential prey within reach, they carefully approach, using their keen vision to assess the situation before launching an accurate and lightning-fast attack.

In conclusion, the red-backed jumping spider exhibits unique behavior and hunting techniques that set it apart from other spiders. Its impressive jumping abilities, excellent visual senses, courtship rituals, and predatory behavior make it a fascinating creature to study in the world of arachnids.

Life Cycle and Reproduction of the Red Backed Jumping Spider

The red-backed jumping spider (Phidippus johnsoni) goes through a fascinating life cycle with distinct stages of development. Here’s an overview of their life cycle and reproductive process:

  1. Egg Stage:
  • Female spiders lay their eggs inside silk sacs, which they carefully guard.
  • The egg sacs are usually attached to leaves or other protected surfaces.
  1. Larval Stage:
  • After an incubation period of about two weeks, the spiderlings hatch from the egg sac.
  • They emerge as tiny versions of adults but lack fully developed color patterns.
  • Spiderlings disperse by using threads of silk called “ballooning” to catch wind currents and travel to new areas.
  1. Juvenile Stage:
  • As spiderlings grow, they molt several times, shedding their exoskeletons in order to accommodate their increasing size.
  • During this stage, they undergo significant color changes and develop characteristic markings that distinguish them from other species.
  1. Adult Stage:
    • Once reaching adulthood after multiple molts over several months, male and female spiders become sexually mature.
    • Adult males typically have smaller bodies than females but possess elaborate courtship behaviors such as dancing or vibrating movements to attract mates.
  2. Mating Behavior:
    • Male red-backed jumping spiders approach females cautiously while performing intricate dances to display dominance and attractiveness.
    • If successful in courtship rituals, the male deposits sperm onto specialized structures known as palps within his pedipalps (front appendages).
  3. Egg Laying and Incubation:
    • After mating, female red-backed jumping spiders construct another silk egg sac where they deposit fertilized eggs for protection against predators until hatching occurs.
      – Females typically guard the egg sac until spiderlings emerge.
  4. Repeat Cycle:
  • The life cycle of red-backed jumping spiders repeats with each generation, ensuring their population continues to thrive in their natural habitats.

Understanding the life cycle and reproduction of red-backed jumping spiders provides insight into their fascinating behaviors and survival strategies. Through careful observation and study, researchers continually uncover more details about these remarkable arachnids.

Diet and Feeding Habits of the Red Backed Jumping Spider

The red backed jumping spider is a fascinating arachnid known for its unique feeding habits. Here’s a closer look at what these spiders eat and how they obtain their food:

  1. General Diet: The diet of the red backed jumping spider mainly consists of small insects, primarily other spiders. These agile hunters have excellent eyesight, allowing them to spot potential prey from a distance.
  2. Preferred Prey: While red backed jumping spiders are opportunistic feeders, they often target soft-bodied insects like flies, mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. They may also consume smaller spiders that inhabit the same area.
  3. Hunting Techniques: Unlike most web-building spiders, red backed jumping spiders do not rely on webs to catch their prey. Instead, they actively hunt down their victims using stealth and agility.
  4. Ambush Predators: Red backed jumping spiders are ambush predators who patiently wait for an unsuspecting insect to come within striking range before pouncing on it with lightning speed.
  5. Silk Safety Lines: To ensure safety during hunting expeditions or when escaping from predators themselves, these nimble creatures use silk threads as safety lines while moving around vegetation or making short jumps.
  6. Venomous Bite: Once the red backed jumping spider catches its prey in its strong chelicerae (mouthparts), it delivers a venomous bite that both immobilizes the victim and begins digestion by breaking down internal tissues.
  7. Feeding Behavior: After subduing their prey with a quick bite containing enzymes that aid in digestion outside of their bodies (extra-oral digestion), these jumpers inject digestive fluids into their prey’s body cavity before consuming liquefied tissues.
  8. Regulating Hunger Levels: Despite being skilled hunters capable of capturing multiple prey items daily if necessary, red backed jumping spiders have been observed to regulate their hunger levels and feed less frequently when prey availability is limited.

In conclusion, the red backed jumping spider displays impressive hunting skills and a diverse diet consisting mainly of small insects. Their ability to actively hunt without relying on webs sets them apart from other arachnids, making them an intriguing species worth studying further.

Predators and Threats to the Red Backed Jumping Spider

The red backed jumping spider may be small, but it faces a number of predators and threats in its environment. Here are some of the main ones:

  1. Birds: Many species of birds consider the red backed jumping spider as a tasty snack. With their sharp eyesight and agile flight, birds can easily spot and capture these spiders.
  2. Praying Mantises: These stealthy insects are skilled hunters that pose a serious threat to the red backed jumping spider. Praying mantises have powerful forelegs that they use to snatch their prey out of thin air.
  3. Wasps: Some wasp species actively hunt for spiders, including the red backed jumping spider, to feed their larvae. They paralyze the spider with venom before laying eggs on or inside it.
  4. Spiders: While being part of the same arachnid family, other larger spiders like orb-weavers or wolf spiders can see the red backed jumping spider as competition or potential prey.
  5. Ants: Certain ant species have been observed attacking and overpowering lone individuals of this tiny predator.
  6. Habitat Loss: Destruction or alteration of natural habitats due to human activities such as deforestation or urbanization poses a significant threat to all wildlife, including the red backed jumping spider.

7: Pesticides: The widespread use of pesticides in agricultural practices can indirectly harm populations by reducing insect populations which serve as prey for these spiders.

To survive in such an unforgiving environment, the red-backed jumping spider relies on its incredible agility, camouflage abilities, keen senses, and quick reflexes when dealing with these predators and threats

Interesting Facts about the Red Backed Jumping Spider

  • The red-backed jumping spider, also known as Phidippus johnsoni, is a species of spider found in North America.
  • These spiders are small in size, with males measuring around 10 mm and females slightly larger at 12 mm.
  • One of the most distinctive features of the red-backed jumping spider is its vibrant coloration. The abdomen of both males and females has a bright red or orange stripe running down its center, hence the name “red-backed.”
  • Despite their small size, these spiders possess remarkable agility and can jump up to five times their own body length. This enables them to swiftly capture prey or escape from potential predators.
  • Red-backed jumping spiders have excellent vision. They have four pairs of eyes that provide them with panoramic vision and depth perception. Their keen eyesight helps them locate prey and identify potential mates.
  • Unlike some other spider species that rely on webs to catch prey, these spiders are active hunters. They stalk their victims by stealthily approaching them before pouncing for a quick kill.
  • Red-backed jumping spiders are not venomous to humans and pose no threat. However, they do possess venom that aids in subduing their prey.
  • Males perform elaborate courtship displays to attract females during mating season. These displays include intricate dances accompanied by vibrations transmitted through silk threads produced by the male’s spinnerets.
  • Female red-backed jumping spiders lay egg sacs containing several hundred eggs which they guard until hatching. Once hatched, the younglings disperse using silken strands called ballooning.
Scientific Name:Phidippus johnsoni
Size (Male):Around 10 mm
Size (Female):Approximately 12 mm
Habitat:North America
Coloration:Red or orange stripe on abdomen

Remember to always observe these fascinating creatures from a safe distance and refrain from disturbing their natural habitats.


In conclusion, the red-backed jumping spider is a fascinating creature that captivates both scientists and nature enthusiasts alike. With its vibrant colors, impressive acrobatics, and unique hunting techniques, this species stands out among its arachnid counterparts.

Despite its small size, the red-backed jumping spider demonstrates remarkable intelligence and adaptability. Its ability to accurately calculate distances when leaping from one surface to another showcases its incredible precision. Additionally, the use of silk as a safety line during jumps further highlights the resourcefulness of these agile hunters.

Furthermore, their striking appearance serves as both camouflage and a warning to potential predators. The bright red markings on their backs act as a deterrent while aiding in attracting mates during courtship rituals.

Overall, studying and appreciating the red-backed jumping spider sheds light on the intricate world of arachnids. By understanding their behavior and ecological role in different ecosystems, we can gain valuable insights into our natural environment’s delicate balance. So next time you come across this tiny marvel in your backyard or local park, take a moment to observe it closely – for within its minuscule frame lies an extraordinary example of nature’s ingenuity.

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