Plexippus is a genus of spider that shares unique physical characteristics with the Grey wall jumping spider. Like most jumping spiders, the Plexippus species is an integral member of the family Salticidae.
Despite being a native to south-east Asia, this jumping spider species has extended its spread to other parts of the world. For instance, in the United States, the Plexippus spp is called the pantropical jumping spider. That’s because this jumping spider likes to hang around buildings and is spotted near light sources, preying on small insects attracted to light.
Thanks to their brilliant eyesight and impressive jumping skills, our spider friends can easily spot their prey from some distance away and pounce on them with utmost precision. Now, the million-dollar question is, what makes the Plexippus such a unique species of jumping spiders? Well, read on to find more exclusive details about this enchanting jumping spider.
What is their scientific name?
Before bringing you up to speed on everything, you need to know about their physical description and size; let us tell you right from the get-go that our spider friends have a scientific name that has trailed them for many years. While most people will refer to our leaper friends as pantropical jumping spiders, their scientific name, Plexippus, has taken much precedence over the years.
But their scientific name isn’t the only thing that makes this jumping spider species unique. Oh yes, their physical description, intimidating size, biology, and what they like to eat reveals more exciting details about our furry friends.
Physical description and size
Like we mentioned earlier, Plexippus share some unique characteristics with Grey wall jumping spiders, and if you know anything about Grey wall jumping spiders, you’ll agree that they have an intimidating size. In terms of size, Plexippus spp are large jumping spiders with a body length that ranges between 7 to 10 mm.
In addition to their body size, this jumping spider species has a long carapace that rises to the peak at the posterior lateral eyes. Furthermore, if you view their head above, it looks somewhat pear-shaped and particularly widest behind the posterior lateral eyes.
While their abdomen is ovate, they have chelicerae that have a single retro-marginal tooth as well as two teeth on the promargin. Even though their legs are long and slender, we have noticed that the first pair isn’t as strong as others. More so, you’ll notice some strong spines on the metatarsi and tibiae of each leg.
Adult males of this jumping spider species have a short palp with a narrow embolus that rises sharply from the distal and prolateral side of their tegulum. Let us also add that their tegulum is somewhat round and features a sizable proximal lobe as well as a sclerotised keel on the lateral edge.
Similarly, males have a palpal tibia with a single and large tapering apophysis.
On the flip side, adult females of this jumping spider species have quite a distinct epigyne with a conspicuous hourglass shape. Their single atrium and two guides converge medially. Females also have copulatory openings located at a median pouch just at the anterior end of their atrium.
Where are they from?
Like every other jumping spider we have come across, Plexippus has a widespread distribution. Today, you’ll find our leaper friends in almost any country you visit. While they have a cosmopolitan distribution, the Plexippus has been mainly reported from Africa and Asia’s tropical regions.
Experts believe that our spider friends were introduced in the American continent and have made Florida and Texas their home. And because they like to roam about, the Plexippus are extending their reach deep into Paraguay and Australia.
In Australia, where our leaper friends are growing in number, you’ll notice them around Western Australia’s coastal areas, particularly the Northern Territory and Queensland. They are also sometimes spotted on offshore islands, including the Cartier Reef, Ashmore and Great Barrier Reef.
As per their habitat, the Plexippus is mostly seen around man-made structures, especially buildings, where they wait to capture insects attracted to light. Outside human settlements, you may likely spot our spider friends around citrus groves and cotton fields.
The Plexippus species is a solitary hunter that can effectively fend for itself in the wild. Thanks to its excellent vision and superb jumping skills, this jumping spider species will patiently stalk its prey and pounce on it with utmost precision. Unlike other spiders, the Plexippus doesn’t use webs for hunting; instead, it relies on its powerful jumps to hunt down prey.
While this jumping spider will feast on small insects like flies, ants, mosquitoes, aphids and crickets, it can also take on larger prey like grasshoppers. They sometimes also prey on web-building spiders.
What is their temperament?
Don’t let their intimidating and fierce looks scare you; this jumping spider species are super friendly. While they may act aggressive towards their prey, they will most likely shy away when they encounter humans.
And because they appear calm and collected, coupled with their exciting spider antics and display, many exotic pet lovers won’t mind keeping the Plexippus as a pet.
Is it dangerous or venomous to humans?
Our spider friends may be calm and collected, but that doesn’t mean they won’t bite when they feel threatened. Plus, their venom is potent enough to incapacitate their prey.
The only good thing is that their venom isn’t harmful to humans. A bite from this jumping spider will leave you with slight irritations and redness that disappears after a couple of days.
Frequently asked questions
Can Plexippus harm you?
Unless they feel threatened, the Plexippus rarely bite, so you have nothing to worry about. And even if you get bitten by this spider, the symptoms are mild and will fizzle away after a couple of days.
Are they poisonous?
Like most jumping spiders, Plexippus have a potent venom that can instantly immobilise their prey, but guess what? Their venom doesn’t cause any harm to humans.
What do they eat?
Plexippus will feast on various insects, including mosquitoes, flies, butterflies, aphids, ants, and even web-building spiders.