Marpissoida: Dendryphantinae

Recent research indicates that most North American salticid groups belong to a single clade - the Marpissoida. While this group likely originated in the New World tropics, a northward movement of some marpissoids and subsequent speciation has resulted in two dozen genera with North American species. Three of these genera, Pelegrina, Phidippus, and Sassacus and their 100 + species constitute the majority of representative North American jumping spiders.

Maddison's revision of Pelegrina includes 38 species of jumping spiders from Central and North America. Six of these occur in Massachusetts: P. exigua, P. flaviceps, P. galathea, P. insignis, P. peckhamorum, and P. proterva. Males of this genus are smallish, brown jumping spiders marked with white; females may be mottled brown but are often overall gray to yellow. See the comparison of Pelegrina with the superficially similar Eris in the Pelegrina section.

The somatic similarities of many Pelegrina jumpers as well as known hybridization limit the possibilities for species level field identification. P. galathea, however, can be identified with confidence in the field. While P. proterva is a common Massachusetts salticid it cannot safely be distinguished from the similar P. insignis, P. montana, and P. peckhamorum without microscopic examination. The range of P. flaviceps is largely north of Massachusetts while that of P. exigua is to the south. Each has distinct characters (although see note below) where the two are allopatric; in locations where the species are sympatric hybrids appear to be common. This is the case in northern Massachusetts. The images in the third tab show "typical" individuals encountered north and south of our area. See maps, notes, and discussion under individual "Species Details" tabs.
Maddison's, 1996; Hill and Edwards, 2013

comparison details