Habronattus calcaratus

Geographic Range

Currently, the observed geographic range of the jumping spider Habronattus calcaratus extends from the Cumberland Plateau, which is a vast stretch of hardwood forest occupying areas in Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky northward through Maine and parts of Canada. The range also extends westward to the Great Lakes region located in the Midwestern United States. The species has recently been found as far west as Minnesota extending its previous known range by 125 miles. The species is also found as far south as Florida and is most common in the extreme southeastern United States. ("MN DNR Jumping Spiders- Statement of Need and Reasonableness", 2012; "Tree of Life Web Project Habronattus calcaratus", 1995; The Nature Conservancy, 2014)


This species is found mainly in eastern temperate forests with deciduous tree populations including oak, maple, and birch. It has been found to reside in areas of mid/average continental elevations within the observed geographic range from sea level to high areas in the Appalachians (2025m). The spider is mainly ground dwelling but will also be commonly found within vegetated areas with other micro-inhabitants providing prey for the spiders. ("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

Physical Description

Habronattus calcaratus is a type of jumping spider uniquely distinguished from other members of the Habronattus genus by a centrally located white abdominal stripe. Adult spiders average 5 to 6 mm in length with males having an average weight of just 13.5 mg and females weighting slightly more. Males possess a hook-like structure on their third leg and are typically smaller than the females. Females are more cryptically colored than the males enabling them to blend into the landscape. There are generally three subspecies described according to geographic range. Habronattus c. calcaratus, found in the extreme southeastern United States, is more brightly colored and is less hardy 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 is distinguished with 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


Species specific development for Habronattus calcaratus is currently unknown. Life histories of other members of the Salticidae family are known and can be assumed to be similar to the Habronattus calaratus species. After mating, eggs develop within the female before being placed in an egg sack for further development. Several weeks later the spiders hatch and complete several molts before venturing on their own to hunt prey. After the final molt the spider has reached adulthood and is at full size with reproductive organs now apparent. (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2014)


Species within the Habronattus genus exhibit complex courtship and mating systems. Males are brightly colored and have complex courtship displays which are often accompanied by seismic signals and sound production. The display movements are synchronized with sound production or vibrations in the males courtship dance. This system creates competition among male spiders to perform the best displays for favored mate preference and is a driving factor in selection. (Elias, et al., 2012)

Species specific reproduction details for Habronattus calcaratus are currently unknown. Similar species from the Salticidae family typically have a single reproductive event after which eggs are protected by the mother until they hatch or a short time thereafter. Due to relatively short lifespans and several molts required by the young to reach sexual maturity, adult spiders only exist for several months before reproductive efforts are completed. Although many eggs are produced and hatch only a small fraction of these spiders make it to maturity. (Encyclopedia of Life, 2014)

  • Breeding interval
    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 protect and provide for the young spiderlings for several molts before they reach independence and leave the female parent. This represents a significant investment on the part of the female. After the young disperse, the female provides no more care, and typically dies shortly thereafter. (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2014)

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


Species specific lifespan data for Habronattus calcaratus is currently unknown. Related members in the Salticidae family typically do not live longer than a one year period and typically die after reproduction efforts or after young disperse on their own. (Encyclopedia of Life, 2014)

  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    1 years


While there is little information available specifically for Habronattus calcaratus, it can be assumed that these spiders follow similar behavior pattern of the Salticidae family. Members in this family typically hunt for prey during the day due to exceptional eyesight and perception. There is also a high degree of prey specificity and these spiders learn to distinguish types of prey after only one initial encounter. The spider will stalk prey disguising its movements and attacks frontally at a distance, often jumping back off before finally feeding on the victim. Slower moving prey, such as caterpillars, is preferred as they have more difficulty escaping. Hunting skills improve with experience and age of the spider. (Bartos and Szczepko, 2012)

Home Range

The range is likely expected to be relatively small considering the the full adult size of the spider is only 5 to 6 mm in length. (Hedin and Maddison, 2013)

Communication and Perception

The primary sensory signal is vision-based, as members of the Salticidae spider family have the best vision of all invertebrates. There are a total of eight eyes for improved sensory in multiple directions and this is important for prey acquisition. The brain also has a large region dedicated to visual processing activities. Male spiders in the genus Habronattus also utilize auditory communication especially for mating and courtship performances to communicate with female spiders. (Elias, et al., 2012; Maddison, 1985)

Food Habits

Habronattus calcaratus is a predatory carnivore which actively stalks and hunts live prey, mainly other arthropods, including smaller spiders and insects. They are capable of jumping 30 times their body length with no special enlarged muscles. This rapid moment is thought to be a result of instantaneous blood pressure alterations within the legs of these spiders. This ability to jump makes the spider very effective at catching prey. (Maddison, 2011)

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


Predators of Habronattus calcaratus include birds, as well as larger predatory spiders. The complex courtship displays conducted by the males have been implicated in attracting unwanted predators. Females may be more vulnerable to predation during these encounters as they are larger than the males and thus offer better prey opportunity. However, females have darker coloration that functions as camouflage, while males are brightly colored, making them easier targets. (Su and Li, 2006)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

Habronattus calcaratus is a predator that preys on a large variety of arthropods, helping to keep small insect and arthropod populations in check. It also serves as prey to larger spider species and birds. (Maddison, 2011; Su and Li, 2006)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

These spiders add to beneficial biodiversity and help keep insect populations in check by feeding on smaller organisms within their habitat range. Spiders in general are beneficial for this reason and predatory spiders which actively hunt such as those in the Habronattus genus may even offer agricultural applications to effectively control pests in field crops. (Young and Edwards, 1990)

  • Positive Impacts
  • research and education
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Habronattus calcaratus is a ground/vegetation dwelling spider which is not a typical household pest and presents no major threat to humans.

Conservation Status

Habronattus calcaratus has no special conservation status.


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



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.

  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


union of egg and spermatozoan


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


imitates a communication signal or appearance of another kind of organism


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.


remains in the same area


offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sound above the range of human hearing for either navigation or communication or both


movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others


uses sight to communicate


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1995. "Tree of Life Web Project Habronattus calcaratus" (On-line). Accessed March 26, 2014 at http://tolweb.org/Habronattus_calcaratus.

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.

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Encyclopædia Britannica, 2014. "Encyclopædia Britannica" (On-line). Accessed February 23, 2014 at http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/559817/spider.

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 http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/16/6/981.full.

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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 http://tolweb.org/accessory/Jumping_Spider_Vision?acc_id=1946.

Maddison, W. 2011. "Tree of Life web project" (On-line). Accessed April 23, 2014 at http://tolweb.org/Salticidae/2677.

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 http://www.jstor.org/stable/3705754.

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 http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/tennessee/explore/cumberland-plateau.xml.

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.