Jumping Spiders (Araneae: Salticidae) of North America
With A Focus On Massachusetts
An Introduction for Naturalists

Worldwide the salticids comprise the largest family of spiders. Approximately 350 species occur in North America north of Mexico with over 60 species of jumping spiders having been recorded in Massachusetts. Superior eyesight, an active lifestyle, and diverse forms and behaviors are hallmarks of this group. Many salticid species are brightly colored and yes, truly beautiful. A variety of resources covering identification, behavior, and life histories can be found both online and in print. See the "Jumping Spider Info" link above for useful references and sources.

Some Thoughts On Field Identification

Species determination using microscopic examination is the method of choice for treating research and archival material. However, field identification of adult jumping spiders based on larger anatomical features can be judged on its own merits. Arachnologists have traditionally included macro elements in their written descriptions and habitus figures in their illustrations; these characteristics along with other observable marks provide a basis for salticid field identification.

Making correct field identifications is a skill developed over a lifetime. To the uninitiated this ability may seem mysterious and yes, even magical. And yet, while some individuals have better eyesight or keener hearing than others, the accomplished naturalist's skill is largely the result of hard work and time in the field. Several resources are critical to tackling the field identification challenge in an efficient way. For jumping spiders the most recently published "revisions" of genera are often good sources for the descriptions and illustrations mentioned above. An accurate and comprehensive species list for a given locale as well as information on habitat affiliations and seasonality for each species are also extremely useful. Many of these resources are included in online or in print publications listed in the reference section of the "Jumping Spider Info" page.

Those species with confirmed records for Massachusetts seen here include a series of reference images (under the species page "Identification" tab) annotated with identification tips. A number of species with ranges outside of Massachusetts also include identification suggestions for comparative purposes. The details of salticid genera (see "MA Genera" tab) may also be helpful. Dates of observation are based on my own field notes, Kaston's Spiders of Connecticut, records cited in current revisions as well as dates from historical publications including those by Hentz, Peckham, Emerton, and Bryant listed in the reference section. Revisions and additions to this project are ongoing and I invite your comments and/or contributions. Dick Walton - June 2013.

Important Massachusetts Genera

Below are links to pages describing various salticid genera of jumping spiders recorded in Massachusetts. Most descriptions give a brief overview of the genus; other genera, those with species diversity in Massachusetts and/or genera representative of North American jumping spiders, are covered in more detail.
Hill and Edwards, 2013; See also various revisions listed in references.




Marpissinae          Pelleninae                                Sitticinae

Massachusetts Checklist


  • Species
  •  
  • Admestina wheeleri
  • Chinattus parvulus
  • Eris flava
  • Eris floridana
  • Eris militaris
  • Eris rufa
  • Evarcha hoyi
  • Ghelna canadensis
  • Habronattus agilis
  • Habronattus borealis
  • Habronattus calcaratus maddisoni
  • Habronattus coecatus
  • Habronattus decorus
  • Habronattus viridipes
  • Hakka Himeshimensis
  •  
  • Hasarius adansoni
  • Hentzia mitrata
  • Hentzia palmarum
  • Maevia inclemens
  • Marpissa formosa
  • Marpissa lineata
  • Marpissa pikei
  • Naphrys pulex
  • Neon nelli
  • Peckhamia picata
  • Pelegrina exigua
  • Pelegrina flaviceps
  • Pelegrina galathea
  • Pelegrina insignis
  • Pelegrina peckhamorum
  • Pelegrina proterva
  • Phidippus audax
  • Phidippus apacheanus
  • Phidippus cardinalis
  • Phidippus clarus
  • Phidippus insignarius
  • Phidippus princeps
  • Phidippus purpuratus
  • Phidippus whitmani
  • Phlegra hentzi
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Pseudeuophrys erratica
  • Salticus scenicus
  • Sarinda hentzi
  • Sassacus cyaneus
  • Sitticus concolor
  • Sitticus fasciger
  • Sitticus floricola palustris
  • Sitticus pubescens
  • Sitticus striatus
  • Sitticus sylvestris
  • Synageles bishopi
  • Synageles noxiosus
  • Synemosyna formica
  • Talavera minuta
  • Tutelina elegans
  • Tutelina formicaria
  • Tutelina hartii
  • Zygoballus nervosus
  • Zygoballus rufipes
  • Author
  •  
  • Peckham & Peckham, 1888
  • (Banks, 1895)
  • (Peckham & Peckham, 1888)
  • (Banks, 1904)
  • (Hentz, 1835)
  • (C. L. Koch, 1846)
  • (Peckham & Peckham, 1883)
  • (Banks, 1897)
  • (Banks, 1888)
  • (Banks, 1895)
  • (Banks, 1904)
  • (Hentz, 1846)
  • (Blackwall, 1846)
  • (Hentz, 1846)
  • (Dönitz & Strand,
  • in Bösenberg & Strand, 1906)
  • (Audouin, 1825)
  • (Hentz, 1846)
  • (Hentz, 1832)
  • (Walckenaer, 1837)
  • (Banks, 1892)
  • (C. L. Koch, 1846)
  • (Peckham & Peckham, 1888)
  • (Hentz, 1846)
  • Peckham & Peckham, 1888
  • (Hentz, 1846)
  • (Banks, 1892)
  • (Kaston, 1973)
  • (Walckenaer, 1837)
  • (Banks, 1892)
  • (Kaston, 1973)
  • (Walckenaer, 1837)
  • (Hentz, 1845)
  • Chamberlin & Gertsch, 1929
  • (Hentz 1845)
  • Keyserling, 1884
  • C. L. Koch, 1846
  • (Peckham & Peckham, 1883)
  • (Keyserling, 1885)
  • Peckham, 1909
  • (Marx, 1890)
  • (DeGeer, 1778)
  • (Walckenaer, 1826)
  • (Clerck, 1757)
  • (Banks, 1913)
  • (Hentz, 1846)
  • (Banks, 1895)
  • (Simon, 1880)
  • (Peckham & Peckham, 1883)
  • (Fabricius, 1775)
  • Emerton, 1911
  • (Emerton, 1891)
  • Cutler, 1988
  • (Hentz 1850)
  • Hentz, 1846
  • (Banks, 1895)
  • (Hentz, 1846)
  • (Emerton, 1891)
  • (Peckham in Emerton, 1891)
  • (Peckham & Peckham, 1888)
  • Peckham & Peckham, 1885
  • Notes
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • under review
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • introduced
  •  
  • interception
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • introduced
  • likely introduced
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • introduced
  •  
  • introduced
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Species Details Tab


records have not been added for all species

macounties

Arachnology in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has played an important role in the history of North American spider studies. Nicholas Marcellus Hentz, considered the father of American arachnology, was born in Versailles, France in 1797. In 1816 Hentz and his family immigrated to America. While he made his living as a teacher his passion was the study of insects and spiders. A biographical sketch based on his son's recollections relates that Hentz - Although of a genial, affectionate, and generous nature, his peculiarly nervous organization made him often morbidly sensitive and suspicious, and a prey to groundless fears, which not a little marred his enjoyment of life. In addition Hentz habitually and without regard to circumstance would drop on his knees, press his hands to his forehead, raise his eyes heavenward, and remain in more or less protracted prayer for extended periods. Despite these apparent burdens, Hentz published the first important works on American spiders. After a brief period of study at Harvard University he moved to Northampton in western Massachusetts. It was here that Hentz began to devote an increasing amount of time to the study of local spiders. Although he left for North Carolina in the late 1820s the Hentz - Massachusetts connection would continue as a result of his relationship with the Boston Society of Natural History (BSNH) and his close friendship and ongoing correspondence with Thaddeus W. Harris. In 1841 the BSNH published the first in a series of Hentz's papers on spiders. Twenty years after his death the BSNH republished all of Hentz's arachnological works.


The jumping spiders of Massachusetts were first studied in detail by James Henry Emerton. Born in Salem, MA in 1847, J. H. Emerton's childhood interest in nature and drawing blossomed into a career devoted largely to natural history illustration and arachnology. Emerton was active in the Essex County Natural History Society and the Peabody Academy of Science, institutions that ultimately became part of the Peabody Essex Museum. An active member of the Boston Society of Natural History, Emerton was also associated with Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ*). In his mid-twenties Emerton had a major role in the publication of the 1875 Hentz volume. Soon thereafter he traveled to Europe and spent over a year working with numerous arachnologists including O. P. Cambridge and Eugéne Simon. Emerton's own studies focused on the taxonomy and distribution of New England and Canadian species. Between 1882-1892 he published a series of papers relating to this interest. His 1891 publication New England Spiders in the family Attidae as well as his collaboration and friendship with Nathan Banks at the MCZ and George and Elizabeth Peckham in Wisconsin resulted in important advances in what was known about regional salticids.

Elizabeth Bangs Bryant, Emerton's protégé, was a member of a prominent Boston family and a graduate of Radcliffe College. Her interest in natural history introduced her to the members of the BSNH as well as the staff of the MCZ. For over three decades Brant worked as a volunteer at the museum where she was curator of the spider collections. In 1908 Bryant's List of the Araneida was published in the BSNH's Fauna of New England collection. The work included nearly 50 species of salticids and provides detailed location data often absent in previous works. Although Bryant's main interest was West Indian spiders she occasionally published papers with useful information on local salticids. Her 1941 paper Notes On The Spider Fauna Of New England includes a summary of Hentz's and Emerton's contributions to regional arachnology followed by an overview of spider families with New England representatives. While her phylogenetic analysis, at least in some cases, led to confusion rather than clarity the final section of this paper include her description, drawings, and the first North American (Massachusetts) records for the non-native salticid Sitticus pubescens.

The two decades following Emerton's death in 1931 were a fallow period for arachnology in Massachusetts. In Connecticut, however, Benjamin J. Kaston's research and publications on that state's arachnids added to and brought up-to-date much of what was then known about the region's salticids. Kaston's accounts in his Spiders of Connecticut regularly includes notes on the species occurrence and/or relative abundance in Massachusetts. Herbert Levi's arrival at Harvard's MCZ in 1956 led to a renaissance in spider studies in Massachusetts. Levi co-authored with his wife Lorna the Golden Guide Spiders And Their Kin that for decades was the sole reference to North American arachnids accessible to the general public including naturalists young and old. As mentor and advisor to a generation of graduate students Levi nurtured a number of professional arachnologists, including Norman Platnick and Wayne Maddison, whose work continues to enrich and enhance North American arachnology.

Banks, 1932; Bryant, 1941; Emerton, 1891, 1911; Hentz, 1875; Kaston 1948, 1981; Levi, 1968; Scudder, 1869

Citation Details

This section provides details from various sources cited for Massachusetts records.

Bryant, E. B. 1908. Occasional Papers of ther Boston Society of Natural History VII: 1-105. Fauna of New England. 9. List of the Araneida. In this paper Bryant includes nearly 50 New England salticids detailing colletion dates, observers, and Massachusetts locations. Pages 1-10 comprise a checklist with a column for each of the six New England states. The checklist is preceeded by an explanation stating - In this check list the + indicates a specimen in the Society's Museum; the that a trustworthy record exists. Unfortunately most of these specimens and virtually the entire Hentz collection were either destroyed or lost. (Maddison, 1986: 142; Hentz, 1875:iv)
  • A. Habronattus coecatus

    ♦ Bryant's #390: Pellenes cristatus includes two Massachusetts' records (Chelsea and Ipswich) as Habrocestum cristatum (one of the Peckhams' synonomies for H. coecatus). And while the preliminary list (see above) refers to a "trustworthy record" no details are given.
  • B. Phidippus cardinalis

    ♦ Bryant's #384 Dendryphantes rufus is given with a + under the column for Massachusetts indicating a specimen existed at the BSNH.

Scudder, Samuel H., ed. 1866. Supplement to the descriptions and figures of the araneides of the United States. By the late Nicholas Marcellus Hentz. In this work Scudder gathered a variety of Hentz drawings and notes given to the BSNH that were not published in the Society's first issuance of Hentz's works on American spiders. Proc. Boston Soc. nat. Hist. 11:103-111
  • A. Phidippus cardinalis

    ♦ In his notes (p. 104 Dendryphantes rufus) to Hentz's works published by the Boston Society of Natural History Scudder states . . . It is worthy of remark in this connection, that the principal localities from which Professor Hentz obtained his Araneides were Northampton, Mass., College Hill, N. C, and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and that when "the United States" is given as the habitat of a species, it simply means that he had specimens from Massachusetts, and from one of the southern localities. Emphasis added.


    Organizations & Archival Collections
  • AMNH - American Museum of Natural History
  • CAS - California Academy of Sciences
  • EPC - Exline-Peck Collection (at California Academy of Sciences)
  • FSCA - Florida State Collection of Arthropods
  • HWBC - H. W. Britcher Collection (Univ. of Maine?)
  • MCZ - Museum of Comparative Zoology
  • USNMNH - United States National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution)