Phidippus care guide
Phidippus is a widespread North American genus of jumping spiders (family Salticidae), many of which are very common in the invertebrate keeping hobby. They represent some of the largest jumping spider species and make great little pets. Jumpers have very large eyes and use vision as a primary sense, in contrast to other spiders like tarantulas. They do not spin webs like other true spiders, but they will make small web ‘hammocks’ to shelter in at night and when preparing to lay eggs.
female P. regius, peach color form
third instar spiderling
female P. regius, grey color form
being native to North America, many Phidippus species are perfectly adapted to temperate climates. Species native to southern states like P. regius may thrive better in warm, semi-tropical habitats. Jumping spiders are avid hunters and regularly take down prey much larger than they are. They tend to use a single strand of web as a ‘safety net’ when jumping from place to place or pouncing on prey.
the combination of a relatively large body size, excellent vision, and a curious nature usually makes for a pet spider that appreciates a large and intricate enclosure. We house our adult Phidippus species in similar enclosures as for arboreal tarantulas - the purplebox 4x4x7 makes a great enclosure for juveniles or adults smaller than about 1”. Larger P. regius may benefit from an upgrade to 6x6x9 or 8x8x12. Slings are very tiny and seem to do best either kept communally in a larger enclosure or singly in deli cups - we use 1oz cups upside down for convenience. Substrate is not a necessity but it may help stabilize humidity and grow plants for bioactive setups. For juvies and adults, be sure to fill a lot of the open space in the enclosure with different colors and textures for the spider to explore and feel secure hiding in. Plants, sticks, cork bark, etc work great. You might find that your spider will utilize natural crevices in the enclosure (like our magnetic seed pod hides) to build their nighttime hammock. As with arboreal tarantulas, ample ventilation and air flow are very important for species that thrive with high humidity.
at Marshall Arachnids, we strive to take each species’ natural history into account when designing and maintaining enclosures for our Phidippus jumpers. Each species in the hobby will have its own adaptations relevant to its native area, but we’ve found that regular misting (daily or every other day, especially for slings) and warm temps (above 76F) help babies and adults of all species thrive. We have found that jumpers tend to not overeat the way tarantulas do, so we usually offer many more prey items than the spider will eat in a day or two; this way, the jumper can choose to eat when it pleases, and the prey items will survive in the enclosure for a few days and we will not need to add food daily. Fruit flies, house flies, and crickets are a favorite for slings and adults.
female P. regius (and others in the genus) are extremely variable in coloration, ranging from tan, cream, peach, white, grey, solid black, or any combination in between. Males are always solid black, however.