Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
considers this to be part of a species group, but the taxonomy is not clear.
Explanation of Names
Author of species is Hentz, 1846. Species name otiosus
is a Latin adjective for free, at leisure (1)
Body length 8-12 mm (male), 12-18 mm (female)
Carapace dark brown with white hairs along the sides. Abdomen is brown above with distinctive pattern in orangish. Chelicerae of both male and female irridescent, usually green, but sometimes purple (2)
Keys for recognizing specimens of Phidippus regius, P. otiosus and P. audax are described in:
Edwards G.B. 1981. The regal jumping spider Phidippus regius
(Araneae: Salticidae). Ent. Circ., Florida Dept. Agric. Consumers Service, Gainesville, 223: 1-3, 4 f. (PDF
Southeastern United States: Texas, Tennessee, to Maryland. Common in Florida (1)
Canopy of deciduous and mixed deciduous/pine forests.
Spanish-Moss Tillandsia usneoides, hanging from Live Oak Quercus virginiana:
In 2004 while I was on vacation in Tennessee, I found some female Phidippus similar to P. otiosus but smaller than what I was used to finding in Florida, and they had markings on the carapace that I hadn't seen before.
When I returned home, I sent some pictures to G.B. Edwards to get his opinion. He was unfamiliar with this color form, but based on the carapace markings and the location that I'd found these jumpers, he identified them as being P. mystaceus.
Since then, I've used that identification as a key to identifying multiple other females that had similar carapace markings. However, I recently acquired two adult female P. otiosus from Montgomery, AL. One of the females has three carapace markings, and the other only has a marking in the center of the carapace. I'm also raising some of their spiderlings. Some of the spiderlings have large carapace markings like P. mystaceus.
This just didn't add up, so I sent images of the adult females to G.B. Edwards for identification, and he identified them as definately being P. otiosus.
This caused me to immediately doubt the original identification of the female from TN, so I sent G.B. another email with pictures of the TN female and a reminder of what happened nearly ten years ago. It's only really been these last ten years or so where we've had this internet resource where anyone who has a camera (or phone) can immediately upload their pictures to the internet with detailed information on size, date, and location of the specimen. Before this, descriptions and geographic distribution records of species was much more limited. So, when G.B. sees a form of P. otiosus that has never been documented in a state that had no prior records of this species, it's very easy to think that it's a variation of a species that is known to exist in that state.
With the information that we have now, we need to correct a previously incorrect belief. There is no otiosus-like form of P. mystaceus, but rather a mystaceus-like form of P. otiosus. All of the images that were posted under P. mystaceus that look like P. otiosus should've been posted under P. otiosus. This really does clarify something that had been a source of confusion for many of us since that 2004 female.
Edwards, pp. 55-57, figs. C30-31, 154-161, map 12 (1)
Kaston, p. 257, fig. 657 (2)