Sassacus papenhoei

Geographic Range

Sassacus papenhoei's range is in the Nearctic region, its most northern population is in Minnesota, but it ranges as far south as Mexico. It has populations in both the eastern and western United States. (Eliott, et al., 2017)


Sassacus papenhoei can live in desert brush, alfalfa, cotton, upland prairie, and in meadows. (Richman, 2008)

Physical Description

Sassacus papenhoei is 5mm long, has a stout body with short legs, eight eyes, and is black with a greenish or purplish iridescent shine. It's first pair of legs is noticeably larger than it's other pairs of legs. (Ehmann, 2017)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range length
    3 to 7 mm
    0.12 to 0.28 in


After hatching from an egg during summer, young jumping spiders may disperse through a process called ballooning where they jump into the air and use a small silk line as drag. They immediately begin caring for themselves after hatching and in a similar species juvenile spiders do not mature until spring of the next year. (Cranshaw, 2010)


Sassacus papenhoei creates a small silk tent under rocks or in plants that it uses to lay its eggs in at the beginning of the summer. When the eggs hatch the young spiders disperse and the mother may produce more egg sacs throughout the summer. In similar species of jumping spider mating occurs in the spring after all of the juveniles have fully matured. (Eliott, et al., 2017)

Similar jumping spider species breed in the spring. The number of offspring per egg sac is unknown. Females generally lay their egg sac in early summer and will continue to lay eggs throughout the summer. Juvenile spiders are fully mature by next spring. Hatched spiders are independent of their mother immediately. (Ehmann, 2017)

  • Breeding interval
    Jumping spiders either breed in the spring or in the fall
  • Breeding season
    4 weeks
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    3 to 5 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    8 to 10 months

There is very little parental investment post-hatch within the Sassacus papenhoei species. Eggs are laid within a silken tent made by the female which provides some protection before they are hatched. The female also stays with the eggs until they hatch to protect them. Upon hatching young spiders are immediately independent and disperse. (Cranshaw, 2010)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • protecting
      • female


Not much is known about Sassacus papenhoei as far as lifespan is concerned, but in similar species a one year life span is typical. (Cranshaw, 2010)

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    11 to 13 months


Sassacus papenhoei is a solitary species. It stocks its prey instead of catching it in a web. When it sees something threatening it may actually approach and investigate it instead of running and hiding. (Cranshaw, 2010)

Home Range

The range or territory size is unknown. (Richman, 2008)

Communication and Perception

Sassacus papenhoei has some of the best vision of all of the arachnid classification. They can see some colors along with a little bit of ultraviolet light. They use this vision to stalk prey and identify mates. (Cranshaw, 2010)

  • Communication Channels
  • visual
  • Perception Channels
  • visual
  • ultraviolet

Food Habits

Sassacus papenhoei feeds primarily on smaller insects, however they will eat other spiders that are smaller and will also steal kills from other spider's webs. (Cranshaw, 2010)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects


The color pattern adopted by the species mimics beetles which is a prey species, this may help it when hunting. When presented with a predator this species may try and scare the predator away by jumping towards it and waving its front legs. (Cranshaw, 2010)

Ecosystem Roles

Sassacus papenhoei is a predator of other small insects and is prey for larger predators. (Eliott, et al., 2017)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known benefits besides that of education and knowledge. (Eliott, et al., 2017)

  • Positive Impacts
  • research and education

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known costs involved with this species as it does not often inhabit homes and is non-venomous. (Richman, 2008)

Conservation Status

Sassacus papenhoei has a wide range across the United States and is not endangered overall, however, it is endangered in its most northern population in Minnesota. Controlled burns are more meticulously planned than before in an attempt to conserve the species. (Ehmann, 2017)


Samantha Foltz (author), Minnesota State University Mankato, Robert Sorensen (editor), Minnesota State University, Mankato, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



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


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

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


Found in coastal areas between 30 and 40 degrees latitude, in areas with a Mediterranean climate. Vegetation is dominated by stands of dense, spiny shrubs with tough (hard or waxy) evergreen leaves. May be maintained by periodic fire. In South America it includes the scrub ecotone between forest and paramo.

delayed fertilization

a substantial delay (longer than the minimum time required for sperm to travel to the egg) takes place between copulation and fertilization, used to describe female sperm storage.

  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


the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


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.


the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.


specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


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


lives alone


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).

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


Cranshaw, W. 2010. "Colorado Insects of Interest: Jumping Spider" (On-line). Accessed November 29, 2017 at

Ehmann, W. 2017. "Sassacus Papenhoei" (On-line). Accessed November 08, 2017 at

Eliott, L., M. Quinn, C. Pfeiffer. 2017. "Species Sassacus Papenhoei" (On-line). Accessed November 08, 2017 at

Richman, D. 2008. Revision of the jumping spider genus sassacus (Aranea, Salticidae, Dendryphantinae) in North America. Journal of Arachnology, 36(1): 26-48. Accessed November 08, 2017 at