The "Daring Jumper"
Phiddipus audax

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Phidippus audax is attracted to both sedentary and flying prey. They feed on a variety of insects such as moths, flies, and grasshoppers, as well as other spiders, including Phidippus (Hill 2006). Phidippus audax spiders like the sunshine and do their hunting during the day. The salticids slowly stalk their prey, almost cat-like. When the spider comes close to its prey it pauses and lowers its body to fasten a silk thread, or “safety line,” to the substrate it is on (This is in case it should miss its prey, the thread will keep it from hitting the ground). Then jumps to its prey. Like web-building spiders, the salticids can locate prey precisely from a distance. The difference is that web-building spiders use vibrations on their web, and salticids use their uniquely precise eyesight to locate their prey.

One fascinating thing about their leaping ability is that they do not have to take a straight path to their prey. Instead, the salticids can leap and, in a sense, take a detour to its prey, so as to go unnoticed. This unique feature of their jump shows that they possess the ability to problem-solve, catching the attention of many researchers (Tarsitano 2006). When not leaping to catch prey, the salticids are active searchers, often walking around and stopping to look around in search for prey. They actively pursue and attack any prey they locate. This is in contrast to most spiders that spend more time visually searching for prey from one place and then actively stalking it. There are a numerous amount (too many to name on this website) of adaptations that the salticids have obtained pertaining to their hunting. Phidippus audax, specifically, has been seen leaping into other spiders’ nests to catch the spider itself (araneophagy) or insects caught in another spider's web (kleptoparasitism) (Hill 2006).

Click here to learn more about how they can see their prey.