Habronattus viridipes (Hentz, 1846)
A Jumping Spider
Basis for Listing
Habronattus viridipes (a species of jumping spider) is known from sites on the East Coast and Texas as well as from Great Lakes states. The Minnesota specimens establish the known northwestern range limit for H. viridipes in the U.S. (Griswold 1987). Historically (1934 and 1935), there were three known occurrences of adult H. viridipes in Minnesota (Goodhue, Ramsey, and Crow Wing counties). Since that time, about a dozen new occurrences have been confirmed in nine counties. Habronattus viridipes was listed as special concern in 2013.
Jumping spiders are one of the most recognizable types of spiders as they generally have a stout body, rather short legs, a very large set of eyes, and the ability to jump. Their body shapes and colors often imitate prey such as ants and beetles. "Viridipes" means “green foot”, and in H. viridipes the male’s front pair of legs has a distinct green tint. Habronattus viridipes is also one of 12 similar species described by Griswold (1987) in which males have unusual modifications to parts of their third legs, typically described as "bumps" or "knobs" by amateurs. In this species, a triangular “bump” sticks out from the third leg that can be seen with the aid of magnification. The male H. viridipes has a light narrow band down the center of a dark abdomen, but it is not as wide as for H. c. maddisoni. The female is brown with grey legs and not easily identified in the field.
This species has generally been found in central and southeast Minnesota. Preferred habitats include sand prairie such as at Helen Allison Savanna and Weaver Dunes Scientific and Natural Areas, hill prairie such as at Seven Sisters Prairie (The Nature Conservancy), and oak savanna such as at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.
Biology / Life History
Very little is known about the specific details of the biology and life history of this species, but it shares a number of general traits with other species in the group.
Jumping spiders do not spin webs for catching prey. Instead, they construct small tent-like silken retreats under rocks or logs or on plants, which they use at night and during hibernation. The females also lay their eggs in them. Jumping spiders are most active during the day, and they prefer sunshine. They tend to stay in their retreats on cloudy or rainy days. Jumping spiders are generally interested in whatever approaches them and will often turn and face human observers and may even advance towards them. They are generally harmless to people.
Conservation / Management
With only 13 records confirmed over the past 40 years, there is not yet enough information to guide specific management plans.
Conservation Efforts in Minnesota
Surveys are ongoing to determine the distribution of this species in Minnesota.