Platycryptus undatus (Tan Jumping Spider)

About Platycryptus undatus

Taxonomic Hierarchy

→ Kingdom: Animalia
→ Phylum: Arthropoda
→ Class: Arachnida
→ Order: Araneae
→ Family: Salticidae
→ Genus: Platycryptus
→ Species: Platycryptus undatus

Other Common Names

Tan Jumping Spider, Jumping Spider

Author

Author of species name: Charles De Geer. First year published: 1778, as Aranea undata.

Pronunciation

plah-tee-KRIP-tus und-DAH-tus

Meaning

The genus Platycryptus was erected by David E. Hill in 1979 and is a combination of Greek words for “broad, flat” and “hidden.” The combined term refers to how cryptic the spiders are, and how their body shape allows them to hide in crevices (Hill 1979). The specific epithet, undatus, is Latin for “wavy” and was chosen by Charles De Geer in 1778 to describe the scalloped and wavy pattern on the abdomen of this spider.

Notable Previous Names

Marpissa undata
Metacyrba undata

Identifying Traits of Platycryptus undatus

Size

Body length (excluding legs) of adult female ranges from 10-13 mm; adult males range from 6.5-9.5 mm.

Female Primary Colors

Male Primary Colors

Eye diagram of Platycryptus undatus

Eyes

Total of eight eyes, arranged in a manner typical of jumping spiders (family Salticidae). Spider must usually be viewed from above to see the two posterior (back) eye rows, which are located on the back of the carapace (they are visible in our diagram, but only partially). The anterior median eyes (AME) are the two large, round, forward-facing pair that give the spider its ability to see incredibly detailed images and judge distances. The rest of the smaller eyes primarily track movement. While you are checking out this jumping spider’s facial area, check out the cute hairs on each side of its “head” that almost look like eyelashes (these are sometimes referred to as “hair pencils” in arachnology). Also, the females have a thick, white “mustache” below their anterior eyes, while the adult males have a bright orange one.

Legs

All legs are densely hairy, and mottled in black, gray, white, and tan. Like most jumping spiders, the legs are somewhat short in relation to body size, especially so in females. The front pair of legs in adult males are longer and heavier than those of the female, and usually darker in color. Each tip of the leg (tarsus) has 2 claws and what is called a “claw tuft” (specialized pad of hairs that help the spider climb).

Body

“Tan Jumping Spiders” are miniature low-riders, having a flattened and elongated body. Even their legs can be rotated enough to allow them to shimmy into tight cracks and crevices. The top side of the cephalothorax (the front body section) is predominantly gray in color and nearly rectangular in outline. The abdomen is elongated; widest in the middle and tapering to a point in the rear where the silk-spinning organs are. The abdomen has a broad, white or gray scalloped pattern that runs lengthwise down the center and is bordered in black. This particular pattern makes the species one of the easier ones to identify in the field.

Range of Platycryptus undatus

Platycryptus undatus can be found in the following states, provinces and territories across the United States and Canada. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions, in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders do not adhere to the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore these ranges are subject to change.

Important Range Notes

Platycryptus undatus is found throughout southeastern Canada and the eastern USA. Note that there are two nearly identical species that live in the west: Platycryptus californicus and Platycryptus arizonensis.

United States

Canada

Additional Information

Habitat

This cryptically-colored spider is common on all sorts of vertical surfaces like tree trunks, fence posts, and outer walls of buildings. They can also be found scouting for insects among herbs and shrubs. Many will overwinter under loose tree bark.

Web

This species is an active hunting spider that does not spin a web for prey capture. They either sit-and-wait for prey to pass by, or they use their keen vision to actively stalk it, and then pounce. Though they do not build a web, they still use silk for drag lines, constructing egg sacs, and for silken retreats to hide in during the night or over the winter.

Season

Adults of this species can be found throughout the year, though they are more active and commonly seen in the warmer months.

Food

Prey is predominantly dipterans (various flies) that land near the spider, but any insect or other arthropod they can catch is fair game. This species, Platycryptus undatus, was actually the first jumping spider to have been officially recorded as having been seen eating an earthworm, a rather uncommon meal for a spider that doesn’t spend much time on the ground (Ross 2008).

Lifecycle

Egg sacs are typically created in late spring or summer. The mother spider spins a relatively spacious silken chamber around herself and then deposits her eggs on the floor of it, covering them with a thin layer of silk afterward. The finished “look” is reminiscent of a fried egg, actually. She then stands guard directly over the egg mass, while still under the added protection of the larger silken sac. The spiderlings (baby spiders) will emerge within about 3-4 weeks. They overwinter as juveniles and then mature the following year. Some may overwinter a second time, living longer than one year.

Pictures of Platycryptus undatus

General

Female Spiders

Male Spiders

Filtering options are grayed out when we do not have pictures for the given perspective. If you are a spider photographer, you can submit pictures of spiders to help fill any voids in our ever expanding library.
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs, Eyes
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Virginia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Lateral
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Virginia Beach
  • State: Virginia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Indiana
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Tuftonboro
  • State: New Hampshire
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Washington, D.C.
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Washington, D.C.
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Cross Plains, Dane County
  • State: Wisconsin
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Cross Plains, Dane County
  • State: Wisconsin
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Nashville
  • State: Tennessee
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Nashville
  • State: Tennessee
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Groton, Middlesex County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Pymatuning Reservoir, Crawford County
  • State: Pennsylvania
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Washington, D.C.
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Platycryptus undatus
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States

References and Further Reading

Various Research Papers

Scientific Diagrams and Keys for Identification

References for the Casual Reader

Species guide last updated: March 11, 2014

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