This Just In . . . Phidippus Audax Is Officially Earth’s Cutest Spider

I found this playful little guy in Hope, Arkansas, today. Spiders are my favorite animal, and jumping spiders are my favorite group of spider species . . . but phidippus audax is my favorite jumping spider! They act a lot like miniature cats, stalking and pouncing on prey. If you ever see a black and white jumping spider, look for green iridescent chelicerae. If you see this distinctive reflective, metallic green, you’ve found yourself a p. audax. Treat them well, and they’ll eat lots of insects that would otherwise cause problems for us.

This particular spider waved at me, and remained very expressive during our entire encounter. He’d study his surroundings, utterly still, until springing into action so fast that my eyes got left behind, in a cloud of confusion. Fortunately, my wife is skilled with a camera, and was able to catch this shot.

“Spiders Aren’t Animals!” Well, Actually….

spider 240px-Kaldari_Phidippus_audax_01

Over the years, literally hundreds of people have told me that spiders are not animals. This seems to happen the majority of the times that the topic of spiders comes up in conversation.  When I reply that spiders are, in fact, animals, the usual response is “Spiders are insects!” This gives me headaches, because (1) spiders aren’t insects, and (2) insects are also animals.

Spiders happen to be my favorite animal, so this is quite confusing to me. Hopefully, this screenshot from my Google-search for “animal definition” will help spread the word that spiders are, indeed, part of the animal kingdom.


[Spider image from Also, I added the red arrow and ellipse to the Google-screenshot, using MS-Paint.]

The Spider-to-Human Ratio

spider to human ratio

Since I like spiders, I was pleased to read a rough estimate of 21 quadrillion for the world’s population of spiders (source: here).

The website gives the current human population as ~7.4 billion. Dividing the estimated spider population by the estimated human population yields Earth’s estimated spider-to-human ratio: 2.8 million.

Yes, your share approaches three million spiders. At least they are good at taking care of themselves!

[Source of the image of the spider above, an adult male phidippus audax:]

Interference Spider with Two Eyes Showing (from 2013)


spider interference pattern 2013

Every now and then, I find something I created some years ago, but never blogged here. This is another such piece, which I made in 2013 (using Geometer’s Sketchpad and MS-Paint), but did not name until today.

Euclid’s Spiders

euclid's spiders

The image of two black spiders above is created by interference, and is an example of an interference pattern. The figures which are interfering are four points (and the rays which go with them), two close together on the right, and two close together on the left, but with the two pairs in different orientations. Each point has 240 rays emanating from it, and the rays are equidistant (in terms of angle measure), making each of these rays one euclid (1.5º) apart from its nearest neighbors.

My New Spider Tattoo


My New Spider Tattoo

I just got a new tattoo on my right wrist, and got it as the Golden Lotus Tattoo Shop in Sherwood, Arkansas. Kendal Harkey is the tattoo artist who created this tattoo.

Since this was cover-work, I simply asked Kendal to do a Google-image-search for “spider,” then pick which one would best work best for that purpose. Here’s what he selected:


I’m now left with a puzzle:  I tried to find this same image with Google, but couldn’t . . . and I want to know what kind of spider this is! If you recognize it, or find it on-line, please leave its scientific name in a comment here.

[Update:  I found the source on Google, at — but it’s a drawing, not a photograph, and so it may or not be a drawing of a real spider species . . . so I still need assistance, if anyone else knows more details.]