Phidippus audax

Coming home from the lab, I walked in the front door to have H tell me she had a surprise for me. “Oh?” says I to which she proudly displayed a small mason jar with a lovely example of a Phidippus audax within. I was delighted and ran off to get my macro lens and flash.

I love these little spiders as they are not only beautiful with their iridescent chelicerae, but they also likely have some of the best vision of the arachnids and likely see in color through a variety of eyes around their carapace. Some eyes (posterior lateral eyes) detect motion and have limited resolution, but other eyes are able to resolve object with good resolution and even appear to have telephoto capabilities (anterior median eyes) while others still (anterior lateral eyes) are used for ranging, size estimation and hunting.

They are amazing little animals that use hydraulics to jump up to 20 times their own length and can even be kept as pets with fun experiments such as holding up a mirror in front of them to document behavior and vision. However this little one was going to get her picture taken and then be released back into the garden to feast on other invertebrates. More spider anatomy information is available here with another article from PBS on spider vision here.

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