Yes, we have come across many colourful jumping spiders, but the Philaeus has this unique bright colour that makes it conspicuous and easy to identify. This genus of spider was first described by Tamerlan Thorell in 1869 but was eventually moved to the genus Yllenus in 2003.
One unique thing about this jumping spider species is they like to hang around open and warm areas, little wonder why they are mostly spotted in dry, sandy or rocky habitats with low and open vegetation.
Unlike most jumping spiders, adult males of this jumping spider are slightly bigger than their female counterpart. Overall, the Philaeus is a large species of jumping spider.
Want to learn more about this intelligent species of jumping spider? Then read on to find more exciting details about this colourful jumping spider.
What is their scientific name?
Being a genus of spider, our leaper friend doesn’t have a general name it is referred to, so if you’re interested in knowing the general name of this jumping spider, we are afraid there isn’t one at the moment.
But thankfully, it has a scientific name that has trailed it since it was first described in 1869. As per the scientific name, our furry friend is scientifically called the Philaeus.
As of August 2019, this genus contains at least seven known species with widespread distribution.
Stay put as we delve into more details regarding our fuzzy friend’s physical description and size.
Physical description and size
With so much going on in terms of physical description and size, the Philaeus jumping spider will wow spider lovers with its impressive physical attributes and bright colour.
To start with, the Philaeus is a fairly big jumping spider with a body length that measures between 7 to 12 mm. While male jumping spiders are rarely bigger than their female counterparts, Philaeus species are changing the narrative, and that’s because males of this jumping spider species are slightly bigger than females.
The sexes of this jumping spider species differ greatly in terms of sexual dimorphism. Plus, males appear very colourful and spot a glaringly red opisthosoma. Additionally, adult males of this jumping spider species have a cephalothorax that looks dark brown or blackish. This is further accentuated by two broad longitudinal white stripes that sit behind their rear eyes.
Their abdomen is unmistakably conspicuous, and that’s because it spots a distinct bright orange-red colour to the back and sides. You’ll also notice a very visible longitudinal black stripe that runs from the centre all the way down.
Even though their long but slender legs appear dark, their patellae and most of the tibiae of their first two pairs of legs appear mostly orange-red.
On the other hand, adult females of this jumping spider have a cephalothorax similar to that of the males. The only distinct difference is that the cephalothorax in females has much smaller white stripes.
Similarly, females have an abdomen that is largely covered with a broad and rather irregular brown band. Also, you’ll notice two very distinct longitudinal white stripes along with a few white marks close to their sides.
Where are they from?
Despite their widespread distribution, the Philaeus species mostly occur in the Palearctic, particularly from South China to Korea and Portugal. Outside of their native location, our leaper friends are also very common in Europe, especially across the south of the continent.
Unfortunately, they don’t do very well in Ireland, Iceland, Estonia, Scandinavia, Latvia and Russia.
Outside Europe, the Philaeus is present in Turkey, Central Asia, Mongolia, Iran, Caucasus, Afghanistan and North Africa.
Diet and food
Jumping spiders are agile hunters who use their excellent vision to stalk their prey and pounce on them using their impressive jumping skills.
In the wild, the Philaeus can fend for themselves and will take on both small and large insects alike. While they will readily feast on flies, mosquitoes, aphids, ants and other web-building spiders, our leaper friends will courageously take on prey twice their size.
Unlike other traditional spiders that use their webs for hunting, the Philaeus depends on its superb vision and remarkable jumping skills for hunting.
Unfortunately, if you plan to keep this spider in captivity, you’ll have to provide feeder insects, which you can either catch around your home or order from pets stores.
What is their temperament?
If you’re new to jumping spiders, it’s okay to get freaked out about their intimidating look. But guess what, behind all those scary looks is a very calm and collected spider that doesn’t pose any threat to humans.
While this jumping spider will act aggressively towards prey, their first instinct is to get away when they spot humans.
Thanks to their bright colours, impressive spider display and overall calm demeanour, our spider friends will make great pets.
Is it dangerous or venomous to humans?
While jumping spiders such as the Philaeus are generally friendly, they are not scared to bite if they feel threatened or handled roughly. And yes, their bite will leave mild pain, redness and irritations, which usually feels better after a couple of days.
Similarly, our leaper friends are venomous, with strong venoms that can incapacitate prey. Thankfully, their venom doesn’t cause any harm to humans.
And because they rarely bite, you have nothing to worry about when handling this jumping spider species.
Frequently asked questions
Is Philaeus deadly?
Even though this jumping spider is aggressive and has potent venom that can paralyze prey, it isn’t deadly to humans. Plus, when they encounter humans, they tend to shy away.
What is their lifespan?
Most jumping spiders have a very short lifespan, so we don’t expect the Philaeus to be any different. As per lifespan, our spider friend can survive for six months to one year. And just so you know, adult females of this jumping spider live longer than their male counterparts.
Can you raise them in captivity?
The Philaeus jumping spider can thrive very well in any environment it is introduced to. So if you’re planning to raise this spider in captivity, you’ll not run into any problems so long you feed it properly.