Locating Salticidae (Jumping spiders)

As my interest in learning about & photographing Salticids grows, my ability to locate jumpers in new areas (or new species around the house) is not keeping pace (to put it mildly!). I head out to promising-looking areas (whether in woods, fields, swampy margins of ponds, etc) and return having found zilch (except a healthy tick population & lots of poison ivy). I’m looking for suggestions to help push me up the learning curve - websites, books, youtubes, folks to follow on social media (or iNat), local (or not-so-local) field trips to join (Central NJ or Eastern PA area) - really anything that might help the acquisition of knowledge. I suspect that there are a number of experienced, knowledgeable Salticid hunters on iNat who were once newbies (or at least less-than-expert). I would really appreciate any tidbits that folks found helpful on their journey.

The thread ‘How to spot the hard to spot’ has been helpful but I’m wondering if I might be overlooking key things about the jumpers that might help me locate them - time of day, temperature preferences, preferences for ground, plants or trees, habitat-type, hunting ‘style’ (slow stalking vs stop-for-a-while then relocate vs …), etc, etc. Thomas Shahan’s youtubes have also been helpful - others?


that’s easy; you can only find them if you’re not looking for them. :upside_down_face:
i gave up on looking for them entirely, and now i see them all the time!


I find them a lot in my outdoor potted plants. They also have a tendency to come into my room and into my office, but I do live in an area were there are a lot of them.

The main thing I’d suggest it slowing down a lot. Spend time sitting and watching in one place rather than going from place to place. You’ll find that there is almost always one nearby, often within arm’s reach, if you’re quiet and patient.

When you do go move around looking for them do so slowly and look for those barely visible twitches of motion. Often the spiders are so small you don’t see them unless they’re moving.

On plants look for little bumps in spots where there is a good view, but near a hiding spot. Often I’ll see them just sitting watching what’s going on, or peeking over the top of a leaf, like in the 3rd photo in this observation


The wall around my garden is painted white. A large variety of jumping spide love to sit on it waiting for insects and they are so easy to find.

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I’m not familiar with the salticid fauna in the US but I have a bit of experience with salticids in Europe. The species that we have here are almost all habitat specialists. There are a few species which have habitat preferences that can also be met in urban areas and which are therefore also synanthropic. But the majority of species can only be found in specific habitats. Therefore, you might run out of new species rather quickly around your home. Good places to look for synathropic species are house walls and wooden structures such as fences or wooden sheds. You might also find some tree-dwellers or low-vegetation-dwellers in urban areas.

Generally jumping spiders like it warm and dry (at least in the temperate zone). Sunny and exposed areas are very good places to look for them. From late morning until late afternoon is the best to look for them because then there will be generally less humidity and higher temperatures. I cannot support the comment that it’s best to look for them in the morning and evening. Atleast in Euope they are most active in the midst of day. Right after rain showers you might not have much luck to find them because they retreat. Looking for them in dry conditions (a couple of days without precipitation is best) increases the chances of finding them. You can find them almost everywhere (grass, stones, rocks, bushes, trees, barren ground, sand, dunes, leaf litter, under stones or dead wood, between pebbles, at the edge of rivers, mountainous areas, wetland areas… the list is endless, but it always depends on the species you are looking for). The more diverse the habitats that you are searching in the more species you will find.

When you look for jumpers it’s good to be slow. Walk around slowly and observe the ground in front of you. You might cause them to move/jump and that’s when they’re easiest to spot. Many species like to sit in exposed places like on top of stones which makes it rather easy to spot them. If you think you found a place that looks promising for certain species then just kneel or sit down and observe the environment. It might take a few minutes for them to start moving and that’s when you can see them easier. Staring at tree bark can also reveal some very well camouflaged species. From my experience so far it’s pretty tough to spot tree-dwelling species. A beating sheet can be handy to beat some species from branches. Some species are very easy to find that way but if you would just look for them with your eye it’s almost impossible.

My best advice to learn about them is by going out and just doing it. You can read and watch so much but in the end it’s the experience that is needed. In the 3 years that I’m focusing more and more on jumping spiders it helped me most to just observe them in the field. That’s how you learn best about the populations and species in your area. I found a few places this way which have entire populations of certain species. So, whenever I go there I can be almost certain to find them. Going to the same places many times also helps to learn under which conditions you find which species. Some species are active very early in the year but you won’t find them later on. Or you will only find males/females/juveniles at certain times in the year. The more time you spent out there the more you will learn to recognize their movement pattern which makes it easier to find them, too (except the ant-mimics, though). If your brain is trained for these patterns it’s much easier to differentiate jumping spiders from all the other critters that run around in the same place and which might distract you. For the European species you also don’t find detailed information about the lifestyle of jumping spider species. I guess that might also be true for the American species. I already found species in habitats and places which are not mentioned in literature to be favored habitats and places for these species. When you know where and how they hibernate you can even find jumpers in winter.

There is also a nice video on youtube by one of the leading jumping spider experts. It’s quite entertaining and might help you out, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ1P_3fHtPk

WARNING: Shameless self-advertisement!
If you like to look at jumping spider pictures I can recommend @bfmacro on instagram. I have lots of jumping spider pictures in my gallery and in my older posts I also wrote a few more details about the species. I’m not doing that so much anymore since it feels as if I would just be repeating myself over and over.

Good luck in your quest. Be patient, though, it takes time.


I’d like to echo the advice of spending time looking in one spot. There have been several occasions when I’ve only noticed a jumping spider after I’ve hunched down to look at something else, and they can be quite good at escaping into the leaf litter, tangles of plants, or the underside of leaves.

Here in South Korea I’ve seen jumping spiders in long grasses, on wooden boards/fencing, on the leaves of bushes and trees, on building walls, and on stones.

In addition to that, the city where I live has a set of walking paths on the edge of town (along a stream near a forest) and I’ve generally had good luck finding Salticidae species on the railing installed next to the paths. Genera I’ve recorded on railing here are Evarcha, Carrhotus, Orienticius, Harmochirus, Euophrys, Phintella, Talavera, Mendoza, Marpissa, Myrmarachne, Rene, Attulus, and Telamonia. I’ve also encountered Siler, Marpissa, and Synagelides on the railing next to walking paths in other areas.

I’m usually checking in the afternoon through early evening and probably have the most success in the spring before all the Trichonephila clavata start appearing. I walk slowly and scan the railing (top, middle, bottom levels) for movement or anything of a different color. There have been plenty of times I’ve found myself staring at bird droppings by mistake but it’s better than missing something neat.

Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve come across any Euophrys kataokai here that wasn’t on some railing or a lamppost! https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&taxon_id=360453&user_id=whaichi&verifiable=any


Thanks for all the suggestions - they’ve been very helpful!

The ‘go slowly’ or ‘sit & watch’ approach has been my go-to method of hunting. In general, I’ve found this approach quite successful since I was a kid. Even when the target species isn’t found, often many other interesting critters are. This approach helped me to find a population of Attinella Concolor in my flower beds as well as another of Talavera minuta - both tiny, cryptic species (also supposedly quite uncommon). However, as mentioned in my original post, I’ve really hit a wall with new discoveries (while also seeing many more of the common species).

The youtube created by Wayne Maddison on collecting Salticids was fantastic (many thanks!!). There is literally a treasure trove of information to sift through & digest as long as I’m willing to take the ‘next step’ (creating a ground cloth & beating stick, etc). His comment about using 100 test tubes on a good day literally boggles my mind …

I’m also starting to see the ‘seasonality’ of some species as I’ve found some adult females both ready to lay their eggs and some others guarding eggs. I’ve also noticed many juveniles in areas where they weren’t present in previous months.

Again, many thanks for sharing all of these thoughts & suggestions! I’ll continue to re-read them and digest the pieces as I slowly work my way up the learning curve. Any other thoughts come up, feel free to share.



Agreed. I was literally on a concrete slab between the roof and floor of the outside of my home (kind of like a small railless platform) trying to record sounds and take photos of a carpenter bee when I encountered a truly GORGEOUS Carrhotus sp. !!! I thought they were addicted to trees but I found it on Concrete of all places! And the place was not very connected to foliage!


I once was walking through my garden only to find my forehead snagged in a Phintelloides jesudasi dragline! https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/78778794


In my Home garden I have seen about 20 species!

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This time of year, you will want to primarily focus your Salticidae hunts from sun up to early afternoon. The heat makes most retreat around 1400 or so. If you are looking for new species, focus on new places. Many jumpers, especially the more obscure species, have very specific habitat niches. The specific habitat niches have less diversity overall, but do tend to have species most people end up missing because they are giving a more general approach when observing. Examples are looking along manmade rocky shorelines for Habronattus borealis (maybe even Hakka himeshensis, where you’re at) or focusing exclusively on pine trees for Eris floridana. Even well manicured yards can house some species not found in typical wild places. Habronattus coecatus especially loves the short grass of a typical mowed yard. Look on the edges of gravel pits, find weird plants and stare at them, open rocky hillsides, etc. Open fields, especially those with bunch grass species (like bluestem), are really great places to look.

Judging from your species list, it looks like you look around man made structures, in the woods from shoulder to ground level, and at various flowering plants. My simplest suggestion would be to change where you look, even if you think it won’t be fruitful (many times this is true) but you never know what is going to be in that abandoned grassy gravel parking lot until you look.


Also, I am Salticidude. I was originally “Bothrops07” on iNat and that name change didn’t carry over to this forum.

You can change it on the forum separately I guess?
Which unusual places could you mention?

Jumping spiders are very season-dependent - if you’re looking in the wrong season for a species, you probably won’t find anything. Juveniles can be significantly harder to find than adults, in some species.

Phidippus, for example, are mostly juveniles right now (there are a few species that mature at about this time, but they are rarer), and the juveniles are easy to find by sweeping vegatation - particularly places with tall grass, near rivers, are best. I’ve found over a hundred Phidippus in a couple of hours at times, near rivers. The adults are much harder to find because they are almost constantly on the move and usually drop into the leaf litter if they are disturbed. At least, that’s my experience with Phidippus insignarius.

Habronattus/Pellenes, are jumpers that are found on the ground - they can sometimes be really hard to find because of that. In some areas, they are littered all over the rocks / sticks on the ground, but in other areas they are harder to find. I have a few spots where they are extremely numerous (could/can find 50 in a day), but you have to have a good eye and just the right weather to be able to spot them. Plus, flies like sunbathing too and often confuse me :-)

As for the cryptic treedwellers, like Phanias monticola and Paramarpissa, these are a lot harder to find. You have to use a beat sheet or you have to get lucky and have them climb a building or something where you can easily spot them. Oak trees are great … you can also find Pelegrina on bushes and small oaks, by beating or just looking (works for me, but that might be pretty hard to do).

Lifting rocks is also great, if you’re trying to find spiders on eggs. However, this is only for people who are really really patient :-) You could lift hundreds of rocks and find nothing in a lot of places. There was one place I lucked out on and found numerous Attinella dorsata & Habronattus under rocks (even one Attinella dorsata on eggs!), but that was just one place. I’ve also found Phidippus on eggs, under rocks, but this is not very common.

And for all these jumpers, they can all be sometimes found on the sides of buildings, walls, fences, etc. Sometimes just looking in a general place where you can see them easily, if they are there, is a great way to start.

Oftentimes, it just takes general experience to be able to find these - and of course, a good knowledge of the seasons. It feels like each spider’s season is a bit different (and in certain spots, they purposely avoid each other’s seasons, amazingly, while co-existing), so you really have to look at the right times. The habitats are incredibly important too, but Buddy has already explained that pretty well. You will get a feel for the biomes of each species as you find them, and it is also quite dependent on nearby water sources (or no nearby water sources), the prey items, the range in temperatures, and even the elevation. And whether they are actually out and active is based on all kinds of weather-related stuff. Who knows, these jumpers might even be influenced by barometric pressure. It sounds trickier than it is, though. :-)

Good luck finding those salticids!! Any specific species you had in mind?


Have you considered changing it? I like the name Salticidude way better!

Let’s write it like a feature request:

How It Could Benifit The iNat community

Make it easier to recognize and give credit to you as the one-and-only great Salticidude

Salticids really do seem to have a versatility about them when it comes to habitat. I’ve found them in so many different locations:
-blades of grass in unmown lawns
-on foliage at forest edges (typically not too far from seasonal streams)
-in forest leaf litter

However, I think the most common place I find them is in or around my abode. My partner and I live in a camper (that is surrounded by forest on all sides), and we get jumpers at least once a week. We have a couple of residents that hang out on our ceiling. Some like to hang out near our bathroom sink to drink or hunt (I’ve actually seen one catch a pesky fungus gnat in this location). When fall begins to approach (and temperatures drop), mother jumpers will start looking for places to nest. This particular one chose a dog treat bag that I left on top of an outdoor refrigerator (and forgot about). I documented her nesting behavior. She eventually disappeared (and I assume died), but her spiderlings survived!

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Many, many thanks for the suggestions! Given both the quantity & depth of the comments, I’ll keep revisiting this thread to better absorb & review the suggestions as I suspect that some are not truly sinking in as well as I would like.

This is great information!

Two really interesting Salticids that I have a shot to find & places to look - very cool! Overall, the recommendations to change up habitat to find new species has been heard and is generally something of which I’m aware - it’s just that my initial attempts have been so dramatically unsuccessful. I suspect that a beating stick & cloth are in my near future…

What resources (books, websites, etc) are out there that could help me find these sorts of habitat preferences (or others) on my own? Currently I come across this type of info scattered about almost randomly - like on Dick Walton’s site or mentioned in an offhand iNat comment. I’d love to find some resources that make my education somewhat less random / happenstance.

In 1.5-2 years, my wife & I plan to sell our house, purchase a fifth wheel RV and spend a good chunk of the year exploring the USA (& Canada). At least some of the locations we’ll visit will be chosen by Salticid sighting potential (I can hear my wife asking “Tell me again why we came to this place …?” LOL). I can definitely see visits to likely Euophrys monadnock habitat in our future (however futile they may be - LOL) …

HaHa - the list would be really long! Mostly, because I’m shallow, it would include species with color or interesting features. While I enjoy finding Attinella concolor & Talavera minuta in my flower beds (& hopefully contributing to science in a tiny way), they wouldn’t really be primary targets. Likely targets here in the Northeast include species like Phidippus whitmani, otiosus, cardinalis, etc. Even some of the species I’ve seen around the house (like Hentzia mitrata, Phidippus princeps, Habronattus decorus or Zygoballus rufipes) would be great since I’ve only seen them once and they’re very interesting spiders. However, given the beauty & diversity of this group, finding any new species is always a treat.

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I don’t know about dedicated websites for north American jumpers. However, a universally good way to learn about habitat preferences is by checking iNat uploads of certain species. Most people don’t use dedicated macro setups to photograph their critters which allows you to see a lot of the surrounding area or at least the underground that the specimen is sitting on. Together with the distribution map this already is a very powerful tool. And you can also easily ask the observers directly about more detailed information on their find (e.g. in case they found a specific species that you are looking for).

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t necessarily need to know the habitat preference of all species. Often it’s already enough to know what a genus prefers since many species of the same genus have very similar lifestyles (e.g. preference for trees or stony ground). Dependent on the latitude and altitude you might find different species of the same genus occupying the same or at least similar niches.

Google Maps (satellite images) is a great way to scout for potentially interesting places. I use it all the time and found amazing habitats this way which are close-by but which I would never have visited otherwise (like an old abandoned stone pit just 10 minutes away from my home in the midst of a forest). I often look for areas that are rather diverse (some vegetation, some barren ground, some water bodies).


If you just want to find lots of salticids quickly, using a sweep net in tall grass in the middle of a sunny day will typically yield a plethora. And even in an environment like a field of grass, the spider species you find will vary depending on the microenvironment, for example, near a stream, near the edge of the woods, on a hillside, etc. Another place I see lots of salticids is on old wooden fence posts. They love to sit on the top and soak up the sunshine (as do flies, which make a nice meal for them)!


Thanks again to everyone who has responded to my request for assistance & information! The suggestions are extremely helpful. Each time I return to this thread & reread it, I find some tidbit of information that I previously overlooked or didn’t realize how significant it was. I suspect that this will continue (& that’s a good thing I’ve experienced in previous educational endeavors!).

Using iNat resources, Google Earth & websites, I’ve planned several field trips for some of my target species - hopefully timing them to coincide with the presence of mature Salticids. I’m also ID’ing multiple local locations for potential opportunities. iNat tools have been incredibly useful with these and have explained why some species, so easily found in the spring, have been completely impossible to locate since then - pretty much a major ‘aha’ moment as well as a ‘duh’ one (as I slap myself). The steep part of the learning curve is always an interesting time …

Two resources that have also been helpful (for future generations of newbie Salticid seekers who may someday stumble upon this thread):

  • Dick Walton’s site - for IDs & sometimes tidbits on habitat
  • G.B. Edwards incredible paper on Phidippus. Seasonality & habitat preference are great.
  • For species outside of these two sites, burrowing through iNat has been my primary (& mostly only) resource. I suspect there are others - suggestions are very welcome.

Definitely gonna keep an eye on this thread myself! Salticids are my favorite animals so I’d also love to read tips on how to find more, they’re such photogenic little friends. I’ll keep the advice people have posted so far in mind next time I search!