Phidippus Audax Jumping Spider
the tiny Cobweb Spider

I caused quite a stir yesterday when I went to take down my outside garden hose from its holder and the holder fell
completely out of the cement wall.  This sent all the spiders scurrying that were living inside the coils and
under the holder.  I had my camera in my pocket so I quickly turned it on and tried to focus on a tiny cobweb
spider that was making its way up the wall.  Just as I got it focused in, this large female Phidippus Audax
came running up from the ground and scooped up my cobweb spider...

jumping spider
I thought she had just swallowed it whole since the Phidippus never broke stride long enough to take out the eating utensils.  Well,
a few moments later I put my camera next to her and she reared up on her hind legs, which they do quite often when confronted with a
camera, and I took a second shot of her.  It wasn't until I downloaded the pictures that I saw what happened to the tiny cobweb spider...

see what I have
It was till in her jaws.  You can see the body and tiny legs.  Now, just so you don't feel too sorry for the cobweb spiders, they are really
tough little creatures.  I have seen insects and spiders many times their size hanging like raw meat in their webs.  They are relatives of
the Black Widow but are not as dangerous.  It was amazing to me that the Phidippus (there were actually two of them)  were so aware of their
 surroundings that when the hose catastrophe occurred they were able to take advantage of the situation.  To my knowledge, the rest of the
cobweb spiders survived, along with a funnel weaver.  The Phidippus actually confronted the female funnel weaver but then walked away
and let the her leave.  I think that would have been quite the battle.  A female Phidippus has actually been queen of the hose coil in past
years but now the funnel weaver seems to wear that crown.  I still would have had to root for the Phidippus, my favorite spider. 
© Carol Davis, 4-28-2009

One more thing about cobweb spiders.  Even as I was trying to straighten out the hose, a cobweb spider was busily trying
to spin another web between the coils of its destroyed home as they lay willy-nilly on the grass.  Cobweb spiders are
gifted (or possibly cursed) with Type-A+ personalities and never stop working, no matter what the circumstances.
 We could learn a lot from these tiny spiders.  Ants are no more industrious.

Home - Arachnids of Utah

Other Home - Amazing Nature