Many observers have noted that jumping spiders seem to have an affinity for human beings.
These quick-moving arachnids seem curious about people, and will fearlessly return our stares, and even jump onto our hands for a better look at us.
The regal jumping spider, Phiddipus regius, is no exception.
It’s the largest jumping spider found in Florida — a good-sized adult specimen is the size of a 50-cent piece.
The regal is also one of the most colorful spiders anywhere — males are jet black with white markings and iridescent blue/green chelicerae. (Chelicerae are jaw structures, easily visible from the front). Females are either orange with yellow and black accents, as seen here, or gray with black and white accents.
Here is a true story about the regal jumping spider, contributed by a Bug Week staffer:
“This happened at a flea market in another town. I was there with family, and we were all walking through a long, covered stall. There were vendors on either side, tin roof overhead, and we’re walking along at a slow pace.
Well, up ahead of us is a young mother and two daughters, who must have been about age four and five. They’re walking along, too. The older daughter noticed that mom had a big spider crawling up her back. Mom isn’t thrilled with this and asks the daughter if she can brush it away. The daughter says no way. (And, in fairness to the daughter, the spider was too high up on mom’s back to reach).
Their little group has stopped, and as we walk up I ask “ma’am, would you like me to brush that spider off of you?”
She says yes, please. It’s a full-sized male regal jumping spider. He’s crawling and spinning around in that jerky, sort of comical way that they do. It takes a few tries but I brush the mischievous critter onto my left hand and he promptly starts crawling around.
I tell the lady that I’ve gotten the spider off of her. She looks relieved. The daughters look relieved. For a moment, I feel like a good old-fashioned chivalrous man.
Then a voice booms, “WHY ARE YOU PUTTIN’ YOUR HANDS ON MY WOMAN?!!”
I turn around and there’s a man the size of a professional football player striding toward me.
The spider — bless his little arthropod heart — was still crawling on my left forearm, so I held it up. Oh, you’d better believe I held it up.
Simultaneously, I pointed at the spider with my other hand and blurted out something like “it’s a–”
Right then the man broke into a big grin and started laughing, waved at me and said, “it’s okay.”
In retrospect, it was funny. At the time, all I could think about was ‘I’m so glad that spider stayed on my arm.’”
Read more about the regal jumping spider here…
Regal Jumping Spider