BioKIDS home

Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species

Habronattus calcaratus

What do they look like?

Habronattus calcaratus is a jumping spider averaging 5 to 6 mm in length with males having an average weight of just 13.5 mg and females weighting slightly more. These spiders can be identified by a white stripe in the middle of their abdomen. Males are usually smaller than females, while females have darker colors that let them blend into their surroundings easier.

There are three subspecies. Habronattus c. calcaratus, found in the extreme southeastern United States, is more brightly colored and is smaller than other subspecies. Habronattus c. maddisoni is found in the eastern/northeastern United States and parts of Canada and is a larger, more robust spider with smooth dark coloring. Habronattus c. agricola resembles H. c. maddisoni but has a bright white stripe across its face. ("Tree of Life Web Project Habronattus calcaratus", 1995; Hebets and Maddison, 2005; Hedin and Maddison, 2013)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • sexes colored or patterned differently
  • male more colorful
  • Range mass
    .0070 to .00200 g
    0.00 to 0.00 oz
  • Average mass
    .00135 g
    0.00 oz
  • Range length
    10 to 15 mm
    0.39 to 0.59 in
  • Average length
    13.5 mm
    0.53 in
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    Unknown cm3.O2/g/hr

Where do they live?

The jumping spider Habronattus calcaratus is found in parts of the United States and Canada. It lives in a large forest called the Cumberland Plateau, from Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky, north into Maine and parts of Canada. Its range extends west to the Great Lakes region in the United States, and has recently been found as far west as Minnesota. These spiders are also found as far south as Florida. ("MN DNR Jumping Spiders- Statement of Need and Reasonableness", 2012; "Tree of Life Web Project Habronattus calcaratus", 1995; The Nature Conservancy, 2014)

What kind of habitat do they need?

This spider species lives mainly on the ground of forests, though they may also sometimes be found living in plants. They have also been spotted in grasslands and mountains, as high as elevations of 2025 m. ("MN DNR Jumping Spiders- Statement of Need and Reasonableness", 2012; Hedin and Maddison, 2013)

  • Range elevation
    0 to 2025 m
    0.00 to 6643.70 ft
  • Average elevation
    1000 m
    3280.84 ft

How do they grow?

After jumping spiders mate, the eggs develop inside the female before being laid in an egg sac, where they develop more. After several weeks, the eggs hatch and the young spiderlings shed their skin several times before they leave their mother. After they shed their skin one last time, they are their full size and are able to reproduce. (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2014)

How do they reproduce?

Males do complex courtship displays to attract the attention of female mates. They do special moves, and also produce sounds and vibrations. The males are brightly colored as well, which can attract the female's attention. Males compete with one another to get the female; whichever male has the best colors, the best moves, and the best sounds wins the right to mate with the female. (Elias, et al., 2012)

These jumping spiders produce one batch of eggs in their lives, after which the eggs are guarded by the mother until they hatch or a short time after hatching. They can produce several hundred eggs, but only a small fraction of these spiders survive to adulthood. (Encyclopedia of Life, 2014)

  • How often does reproduction occur?
    Habronattus calcaratus mates once in its life.
  • Average number of offspring
    several hundred
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    5 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    5 months

Habronattus calcaratus females produce protective egg sacs, and they also guard and protect the young spiders before they reach independence. After the young leave, the female gives no more parental care, and usually dies not long afterwards. (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2014)

  • Parental Investment
  • female parental care
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female

How long do they live?

The lifespan for this species is not known, but other related jumping spiders usually do not live longer than one year, and typically die shortly after they reproduce. (Encyclopedia of Life, 2014)

  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    1 years

How do they behave?

Jumping spiders typically hunt for prey during the day. When hunting, the spider hunts its prey, trying to disguise its movements, and then it attacks from the front. They often jump back off the prey before finally feeding. They often go after slow-moving prey, such as caterpillars, since they have a hard time escaping. Hunting skills improve with experience and age of the spider. (Bartos and Szczepko, 2012)

Home Range

How do they communicate with each other?

Vision is one of the most important senses for this jumping spider. They have 8 eyes that allow them to see in multiple directions, which is helpful when hunting for prey. A large part of their brain is dedicated to processing what their eyes see. Vision is also used to communicate between males and females, when males do their courtship moves for the female. Males also use sounds and vibrations to communicate with the female during courtship. (Elias, et al., 2012; Maddison, 1985)

What do they eat?

These jumping spiders are carnivores, and they eat insects and other spiders. They can jump 30 times their body length very quickly, which makes the spider very effective at catching prey. (Maddison, 2011)

  • Animal Foods
  • body fluids
  • insects
  • terrestrial non-insect arthropods

What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten?

Predators of Habronattus calcaratus include birds, as well as larger predatory spiders. Females have dark colors that camouflage them in their forest environment, allowing them to escape predators. Males and females are also likely to get attacked by predators while the males are courting the females for mating. (Su and Li, 2006)

  • These animal colors help protect them
  • cryptic

What roles do they have in the ecosystem?

Habronattus calcaratus is a predator that preys on a large variety of insects and other spiders. This predation helps to keep the insect and spider populations from growing too large. These jumping spiders are also eaten by other animals, such as birds and larger spiders. (Maddison, 2011; Su and Li, 2006)

Do they cause problems?

There jumping spiders live in forests away from people, so they are rarely found in homes and do not present any threat to humans.

How do they interact with us?

Since jumping spiders eat so many insects, they can help humans by eating harmful insect species, such as those that destroy agricultural crops. (Young and Edwards, 1990)

  • Ways that people benefit from these animals:
  • research and education
  • controls pest population

Are they endangered?

Habronattus calcaratus is not an endangered species.


Andrew Hill (author), Minnesota State University Mankato, Robert Sorensen (editor), Minnesota State University, Mankato, Angela Miner (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.


2012. "MN DNR Jumping Spiders- Statement of Need and Reasonableness" (On-line). Accessed March 26, 2014 at

1995. "Tree of Life Web Project Habronattus calcaratus" (On-line). Accessed March 26, 2014 at

Bartos, M., K. Szczepko. 2012. Development of prey-specific predatory behavior in a jumping spider (Araneae: Salticidae). Journal of Arachnology, 40/2: 228-233.

Elias, D., W. Maddison, C. Peckmezian, M. Girard, A. Mason. 2012. Orchestrating the score: complex multimodal courtship in the Habronattus coecatus group of Habronattus jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, March 2012: 522-547.

Encyclopedia of Life, 2014. "Encyclopedia of Life" (On-line). Accessed April 23, 2014 at

Encyclopædia Britannica, 2014. "Encyclopædia Britannica" (On-line). Accessed February 23, 2014 at

Hebets, E., W. Maddison. 2005. Xenophilic mating preferences among populations of the jumping spider Habronattus pugillis Griswold. Behavioral Ecology, 16/6: 981-988. Accessed April 17, 2014 at

Hedin, M., W. Maddison. 2013. "San Diego State University" (On-line). Accessed April 17, 2014 at

Huang, J., R. Cheng, D. Li, I. Tso. 2011. Salticid predation as one potential driving force of ant mimicry in jumping spiders. Biological Sciences, 278/1710: 1356-1364.

Maddison, W. 1985. "Tree of Life web project" (On-line). Accessed April 23, 2014 at

Maddison, W. 2011. "Tree of Life web project" (On-line). Accessed April 23, 2014 at

Stratton, G. 1988. Sound Production and Associated Morphology in Male Jumping Spiders of the Habronattus agilis Species Group. Journal of Arachnology, 16/2: 199-211. Accessed March 26, 2014 at

Su, K., D. Li. 2006. Female-biased predation risk and its differential effect on the male and female courtship behaviour of jumping spiders. Animal Behavior, 71/3: 531-537.

The Nature Conservancy, 2014. "Cumberland Plateau" (On-line). Accessed April 14, 2014 at

Young, O., G. Edwards. 1990. Spiders in United States field crops and their potential effect on crop pests. Journal of Arachnology, 18/1: 1-27.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

BioKIDS home  |  Questions?  |  Animal Diversity Web  |  Cybertracker Tools

Hill, A. 2014. "Habronattus calcaratus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 28, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
Copyright © 2002-2024, The Regents of the University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

University of Michigan