How to identify a black & white spider

Written by david montoya
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How to identify a black & white spider
Stand back: black and white spiders jump! (spider web image by berkay from

Spiders are one of the most misunderstood animals around. There's no doubt that you should keep your distance from a number of poisonous spiders, but by and large spiders are harmless and are an important part of our ecosystem. This is true for jumping spiders. These spiders usually are coloured black and white and are often just referred to as black and white spiders. As their name states though, they do jump.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flashlight
  • Magnifying glass
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Look at the colouring of the spider to make sure that the spider is mostly black with white stripes. This may sound like an obvious characteristic of a black and white spider, but the fine detail of being mostly black is important. Other spiders have black and white colouring but are not jumping spiders (i.e., the spiders that are often referred to as black and white spiders). For example, the spiny-back orb weaver is black and white, but the two colours are about even in distribution and it has no stripes. Just remember two things: mostly black colouring and white stripes.

  2. 2

    Test your spider for jumping by moving it with a long stick (be far enough away so the spider can't jump on you). Not too many spiders jump. If the one you're looking at does, it is almost certainly a black and white jumping spider.

  3. 3

    Look through a magnifying glass to see how many eyes the spider has. The black and white jumping spider has eight eyes with one dominant pair in the front.

  4. 4

    Use a ruler to measure how long the spider is. Black and white jumping spiders are fairly short, measuring less than 1/2 inch. They are also very stout.

  5. 5

    Follow the spider to its home. Black and white jumping spiders spin webs, but they're usually hidden in cracks and tight corners. Inspect any cracks and crevices you are aware of on your property to see if any black and white spiders are lurking in there. They are most likely to be found in these spots at night.

Tips and warnings

  • It's not uncommon for black and white jumping spiders to have a orange- or red-coloured abdomen. Don't let this common characteristic keep you from properly identifying your spider.

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