Marpissa formosa

Geographic Range

Marpissa formosa has been sighted in Minnesota, with possible sightings in Michigan, Ontario and Quebec. Genus Marpissa has been found in Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. It is suspected to be present in Wisconsin as well. The majority of the genus is considered to be Great Lake endemics. ("NatureServe Explorer", 2013; Coffin and Pfannmuller, 1988; Shelford, 1963)


The majority of individuals that have been sighted of Marpissa formosa have been located near freshwater bodies of water. Members of the genus have been spotted in marshes and on cattails. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014)

Physical Description

Marpissa formosa has four sets of legs, with the first set being slightly shorter than the rest. They have three pairs of spines located beneath the tibia. The abdomen of Marpissa formosa is marked with an angular central band. This genus is well-known for having short bodies and a large set of eyes. Females of this species are dark brown, with a narrow black band and occasionally some white scales. The first pair of legs are brown and the rest are yellow. Males are a darker shade of brown with the narrow black band with patches of white scales. Patches of black hairs surround the eyes. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014; Barnes, 1958; Shelford, 1963)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • male more colorful
  • Range length
    5.75 to 8 mm
    0.23 to 0.31 in
  • Average length
    7 mm
    0.28 in


There is little information available on the specific development of Marpissa formosa. Most jumping spider species are laid as eggs in the spring and summer, guarded by the female. They hatch as spiderlings and remain under the protection of the female until at least the first instar, usually for about a month. The young spiderlings then leave the nest and disperse, to hunt and live independently. They go through several molts before becoming adults capable of reproduction. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014)


The genus Marpissa are dimorphic, with the males having conspicuous coloration to attract females. The males will preform complex dances that are specific to each species of jumping spider. The males will preform a variety of moves, from just the lifting of legs to bobbing, twitching, zig zag motions, and flashing mouth parts. Some members of the genus are able to produce audible sounds, such as a buzzing sound or a sound resembling a drum roll. Females then choose their mates based on these elaborate courtship dances. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014)

After mating, Marpissa formosa females will lay their eggs in silk tents made by males, guarding her eggs as well as her newly hatched offspring. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014)

Females of the genus Marpissa will guard their eggs and young offspring. After the young disperse, no more parental care is provided. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014; Guarisco, et al., 2001)

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


The lifespan of Marpissa formosa is unknown, but most jumping spiders do not live more than a year from birth to death.


Marpissa formosa moves around in quick, jerky movements. This genus does not spin webs for catching prey, but rather builds small tent like structures in which they sit and wait for prey. The genus Marpissa will stalk their prey until it is close enough for them to jump on it. The spider will then lift their front legs and jump on its prey. The spider can jump over twice the length of its body. They hunt primarily during the day because this is when their eyesight is the strongest. Jumping spiders, including those in the genus Marpissa have been shown in laboratory settings to learn extensively from encounters with prey. They learn to differentiate prey items, and their hunting skills grow as they age. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014)

Communication and Perception

Jumping spiders have exceptional eyesight. Their eight eyes allow for color vision, motion detection, binocular vision, and high visual acuity. This allows for Marpissa formosa to navigate its environment, find mates, and locate prey mainly based on visual cues. During courtship displays, males also communicate with females by making buzzing sounds and another audible sounds that resembles a drum roll. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014; Liedtke and Schneider, 2014)

Food Habits

Maripossa formosa is an insectivore and will sit and wait for prey to pass. These spiders will generally take interest in what approaches them, but generally will feed on insects, including web-building spiders, or other jumping spiders that are smaller than them in size. The genus Marpissa is known to steal prey from the webs of spiders as well. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014; Sadana, 1991)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • terrestrial non-insect arthropods


There are no known predators of Marpissa formosa, but in general, jumping spiders are preyed upon by a wide variety of vertebrate and invertebrate predators. These include mammals, birds, lizards, wasps, and other spiders. (Guarisco, et al., 2001)

Ecosystem Roles

Marpissa formosa is a predator of many other insect and spider species. These jumping spiders also serve as prey to a variety of predators, including mammals, birds, and other spiders. ("Rare Species Guide", 2014; Guarisco, et al., 2001)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Marpissa formosa helps control other insect populations that may be considered nuisances to humans. (Guarisco, et al., 2001)

  • Positive Impacts
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of Marpissa formosa on humans.

Conservation Status

Marpissa formosa has no special conservation status. ("NatureServe Explorer", 2013; "Rare Species Guide", 2014)


Gina Thompson (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

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

  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


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


marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.


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.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

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.


Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).


specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.


remains in the same area


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 sight to communicate


2013. "NatureServe Explorer" (On-line). Accessed April 19, 2014 at

2014. "Rare Species Guide" (On-line). Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Accessed April 19, 2014 at

Barnes, R. 1958. North American Jumping Spiders of the Sub-Family Marpissinae (Araneae, Salticidae). American Museum Novitates, 1867: 1-50. Accessed March 20, 2014 at

Beccaloni, J. 2009. Arachnids. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Bradley, R. 2012. Common Spiders of North America. California: University of California Press.

Coffin, B., L. Pfannmuller. 1988. Minnesota's Endangered Flora and Fauna. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press for the Natural Heritage and Nongame Wildlife programs of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources.

Comstock, J. 1913. The Spider Book. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page & Company.

Guarisco, H., B. Cutler, K. Kinman. 2001. Checklist of Kansas Jumping Spiders. The Kansas School Naturalist, 41: 1. Accessed March 20, 2014 at

Guarisco, H., H. Fitch. 1995. Spiders of the Kansas Ecological Reserves. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 98: 118-129.

Liedtke, J., J. Schneider. 2014. Association and reversal learning abilities in a jumping spider. Behavioural Processes, 103: 192-198.

Sadana, G. 1991. Mode of hunting and functional respose of the spider Marpissa tigrina (Salicidae: Arachnida) to the density of its prey, Diaphornia citri. Entomon, 16/4: 279-282. Accessed April 23, 2014 at

Shelford, V. 1963. The Ecology of North America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.