Regal jumping spiders are the most attractive critters you’ll ever see. They have an excellent jumping ability and four pairs of eyes which makes them a highly sought-after arachnid.
If you want to own a regal jumping spider, or you’re simply curious, you’re on the right page. This article will lay out all the aspects of these fascinating creatures. So, hang on tight! It’s going to be an informative ride!
What Is a Regal Jumping Spider?
A regal jumping spider, with the scientific name Phidippus regius, is a popular member of the Salticidae, the largest family of spiders. These arachnids have striking physical attributes that attract many exotic pet enthusiasts. However, due to their size, behavior, and diet, they have special care requirements.
Owning a regal spider calls for immense research and responsibility. They are not like your typical household cat or dog.
They are wild animals with unique habitats, habits, and ways of living. They are also known predators of small insects and plants.
Regal Jumping Spider Appearance: What Does a Phidippus regius Look Like?
Across many cultures, spiders are associated with witchcraft, darkness, and anything that gives you the creeps.
However, when you look at a regal jumping spider, I’m sure you’ll be spellbound by its captivating appearance.
First, let’s talk about colors. The Phidippus regius comes in stunning colors, typically black or brown and other color combinations such as gray and pale white or gray and yellow, with red, blue, or green markings.
Like other jumping spider species, regal jumping spiders are sexually dimorphic. This means that male and female spiders are easily distinguishable from each other.
A female regal jumping spider usually has colored scales that are either gray or orange. An adult female in gray form is predominantly gray with distinct black bands on its legs and markings on the abdomen.
On the other hand, a female in orange form has an orange-colored abdomen with banded legs similar to those with gray forms.
Meanwhile, one of the most obvious tells of a mature male regal jumping spider is its black and white patterning consisting of white spots.
Due to their triangular arrangement beneath the white band on the spider’s abdomen, the white spots often resemble a smiley face or a mouth.
You can also distinguish males by looking at their chelicerae or the spider’s jaws. They possess enlarged iridescent chelicerae that help females visually identify males.
Although less pronounced, females also have iridescence on their chelicerae. However, this is veiled by their oversized palpi, which are densely coated with long white hair.
In terms of size, female regal jumping spiders are slightly larger and chunkier than males, growing at 0.28 to 0.87 inches (7 to 22 mm) in length in adulthood.
Meanwhile, adult males only grow between 0.24 and 0.71 inches (6 to 18 mm) in body length. They are slimmer and have longer forelegs.
Despite its tiny size, the regal jumping spider is considered the largest species of jumping spider.
Another notable feature of regal jumping spiders is their huge bead-like eyes. In total, they have eight eyes arranged in three rows. Their two front eyes are noticeably larger and more round than the other six eyes.
Regal Jumping Spider Distribution and Habitat: Where Do Regal Jumping Spiders Live?
The regal jumping spider is the largest species of jumping spider commonly found in the Southeastern United States.
These include Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, particularly Florida. Species were also found in the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas.
Phidippus regius thrive in fields, open woodland, and semi-arid habitats. When hunting, they usually go on trees or walls of nearby buildings to easily spot prey. They build silken nests in palm fronds or other similar leaves where they sleep at night.
During mating season, a mature male and female regal jumping spider are often brought together in a spacious area for breeding.
In the wild, they lay their eggs under the bark of trees or any abandoned wooden structures.
Regal Jumping Spider Ecology and Behavior: How Do Regal Jumping Spiders Behave?
As a member of the Salticidae family, a regal jumping spider will behave a lot like its cousins.
To survive in the wild, they mainly utilize their hunting skills. They also have a fascinating reproduction process.
The Phidippus species of spiders are strictly diurnal, meaning they carry out all activities during the daytime. As visual hunters, they can only effectively hunt while the sun is still up.
As we discussed, the regal jumper has keen eyesight. This allows them to quickly jump and catch small prey instead of trapping them in silk webs.
In case of an unsuccessful attack, they use their silk to create a dragline to prevent a nasty fall. However, with their 360-degree vision, these instances may rarely happen.
Regarding procreation, regal jumping spiders follow a mating ritual. Adult males prepare a small performance showcasing their fringed legs and colored markings.
If the female succumbs to the male’s tactics, it can produce cocoons that contain 50 to 200 eggs. These usually take about two to three weeks to develop.
As for social behavior, you can expect the cute regal jumping spider to be a bit jumpy around people. When they aren’t caught off guard, they might keep still and stay around for a while.
Regal Jumping Spider Diet and Eating Habits: What Do Regal Jumping Spiders Eat?
Phidippus regius are carnivorous spiders. They mainly eat small feeder insects like crickets, fruit flies, moths, and even other spiders. From time to time, they will feed on pollen, nectar, and plants.
When kept as pets, you can give them the same food as they eat in the wild. Spiderlings should only be fed one to three times per week. As they become adults, you can start feeding them mealworms or crickets.
During molting, it’s essential to remove uneaten prey items from its enclosure since they can potentially endanger the spider.
Regal Jumping Spider Lifespan and Health: How Long Do Regal Jumping Spiders Live?
Unfortunately, for the Phidippus regius, life is too short. The average life expectancy of a regal jumping spider is only about a year.
In their natural habitat, they usually die earlier due to larger predators like lizards, birds, and monkeys.
Luckily, you can extend a regal jumping spider’s life for two to three years by keeping them as pets. Once you place them in the right environment with the right conditions, you can ensure that they can live a long and healthy life.
However, your spider can still suffer from parasites, fungi, nematodes, and foreign bacteria invading its body.
They can also die from inhaling pesticides or not getting enough (or drinking too much) water.
Regal Jumping Spider Taxonomy: What Is the Classification of Phidippus regius?
So far, you’ve learned that the regal jumping spider belongs to the Salticidae family. But, what does this exactly mean? How do you really classify the Phidippus regius spider species?
The taxonomy of any animal or plant species is defined in nine categories.
The detailed classification of the regal jumping spider can be seen below:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infraorder: Araneomorphae
- Family: Salticidae
- Genus: Phidippus
- Species: Phidippus regius
The Salticidae, or the jumping spiders, is the largest family of spiders consisting of over 6,000 species. This comprises around 13 percent of all spider species.
The term “Salticidae” is actually derived from a Latin word that means “to jump.” The common name “jumping spider” is derived from this scientific term.
You can also see the full report of the regal jumping spider’s taxonomic hierarchy at the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Regal Jumping Spiders as Pets: Do Regal Jumping Spiders Make Good Pets?
If you are just venturing into the araneidan kingdom, you won’t go wrong in getting a regal jumper as your first jumping spider.
Known for its eye-catching appearance and intelligence, this spider is everything you can ask for in an exotic pet and more.
Aside from looking cute as a button, regal jumping spiders are the friendliest bunch. Once you form a special bond, you can even teach them to jump from one hand to the other.
In terms of maintenance, regal spiders can be a bit demanding. You need to provide a well-lit and well-ventilated enclosure where you can put some small branches or twigs.
You should also put a tiny water dish to maintain humidity levels and also keep them hydrated.
Like other pets, proper care is the key to having a good relationship with your regal jumping spider.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Regal Jumping Spiders Bite?
Regal jumping spiders won’t bite unless they feel they are in grave danger or as a form of defense. It’s critical to earn their trust by not making sudden movements.
When they do bite, it’s very unlikely to cause a serious puncture. However, it might take some time to heal.
Are Regal Jumping Spiders Venomous?
The bite of a regal jumping spider is not venomous or poisonous to humans. Even though they produce venom, it’s not a serious medical threat. The bite will only cause redness, itching, stinging, and swelling in the affected area.
Are Regal Jumping Spiders Friendly?
Like their cousins, regal jumping spiders are quite friendly. They never show aggressiveness to humans and would often shy away from direct contact.
The key is to keep a safe distance where they can observe you with their eight eyes in peace.
Are Regal Jumping Spiders Dangerous?
Regal jumping spiders are not dangerous creatures. If anything, they are the ones afraid of humans. As long as you handle them gently, they won’t jump away or bite.
If you ever get bitten by one, wash the area with soap and water immediately and apply a cold compress to prevent redness and swelling.
The regal jumping spider is a beginner-friendly pet option for those looking into a spider as a house companion.
You’ll be met with an adorable face and an interesting behavior to match! They are curious and energetic beings with superb vision and jumping ability.
Even though they have special requirements in terms of housing and food, they are still considered low-maintenance pets. They are also perfect for those on a budget and those who prefer a short-term pet commitment.
Even though they take up very little space in your house, you’ll be surprised to discover your regal jumping spider’s big personality.