Introduction and subsequent range expansion of the jumping spider Attulus (Sitticus) fasciger (Simon 1880) in Canada and the U.S.A. (Araneae: Salticidae)

D.J. Buckle
16-3415 Calder Crescent, Saskatoon, SK. Email:

Tracking the arrival and subsequent range expansion of introduced arthropods, unless they are pest species, is not straightforward and often depends on the random collection of museum specimens or chance recognition by a small and scattered group of experts. With some of the earlier introductions to North America there is little published data and it is a major challenge to reconstruct their history through scattered literature references and old museum material. With this in mind, it seems worthwhile to document introduced species through their arrival and dispersal phases. This is the first of a series of notes with this intent. It gives a brief survey of the expansion and present distribution of A. fasciger in the USA and a more detailed one of its status in Canada.

Data from the literature and from my own and other collections were accumulated over the years and a recent survey was made of collection data from SCAN and BOLD, and photographic records from iNaturalist and BugGuide.

Figures 1−3. Attulus fasciger. 1) Female in alcohol, dorsal view, 2) male palp, ventral view, 3) epigynum, ventral view.

Identifying spiders from photographs can be an uncertain endeavour. Unlike birds, butterflies or flowering plants, closely related spiders are often very similar or indistinguishable in form and color pattern, and can only be accurately distinguished by the structure of their genitalia. This is, for the most part, true of the genus Attulus, but large round pale spots on the posterior part of the abdomen (fig. 1 and Maddison et al. 2020, fig. 39) are characteristic of typical fasciger specimens and unusual or absent in other North American species. The species most likely to be confused with fasciger is the widespread A. floricola (C.L. Koch 1837) which typically has smaller, more rectangular abdominal markings. Habitat differences are also helpful in distinguishing these species. Attulus fasciger is exclusively synanthropic (Cutler 1990) while floricola is usually found in marshy or waterside habitats. Photographs with non-natural backgrounds (walls, screens, fences) very likely depict fasciger.

The Canadian range map (fig. 4) was created using such data as was available from identified preserved specimens and a selection of localities from iNaturalist and BugGuide chosen to illustrate fasciger’s present range. Geographic coordinates for each record were imported in QGis (2021) and three symbols were used to represent early (pre-2000) records, late (2000 and later) records, and photographic records. See appendix.

Attulus (Sitticus) fasciger (Simon 1880) is native to Asia (Prószyński 1968). It is a synanthrope in North America, occupying the same wall and fence habitats as Salticus scenicus (Clerck 1757), which it may be displacing. It was first reported from North America by Cutler (1965) who described it as a new species, Sitticus barnesi, and suggested that it might be introduced. Cutler's earliest locality record was from Greenwood Lake, NY in 1959. Other American specimens Cutler recorded were from Gettysburg, PA (1960), Somerville and Old Bridge, NJ (1964), and the Agricultural Institute, University of Minnesota, MN (1964). By 1999 it was recorded from as far west as Colorado (SCAN). A survey of iNaturalist and BugGuide photographic records, most of which were made in the last 2−3 years, showed it to be present currently across most of the USA east of the Rockies except in some of the southernmost states (FL, MS, LA, AZ, NM and NV). It appears to have not yet become established west of the Rockies. Queries to D. Ubick (CAS) and R. Crawford (Burke Museum) in late 2020 established that there were no records of fasciger in either institution. SCAN records showed one individual from west of the Rockies, a female specimen in the Field Museum (FMNHINS 0004 032 546) from “Oregon, Union, Cove Moss Springs. 2019-06-14. J. Balaban.” A query to the Field established that it, and 4 other fasciger specimens, could not be located and were either misplaced or miscataloged (Nina Sandlin, pers. comm. 2022). This record should be considered doubtful until the specimen is located.

The first Canadian specimen was collected by me at Belleville, Ontario in 1963. The collection date was erroneously given as 1964 in Cutler (1965). Attulus fasciger subsequently became a common synanthrope in southern Ontario and I collected specimens from buildings at London and Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1991. Photographic records from iNaturalist indicate that fasciger now occurs across southern Ontario from Long Sault to Thunder Bay and as far north as Sudbury. Hutchinson & Alvo (1998) reported fasciger from Hull, Quebec in 1997 and found several Ontario specimens in the Canadian National Collection, chiefly from the Ottawa – Windsor corridor. Hutchinson & Simard (2020) added records from Saint-Eustache (1999), Aylmer (2000), Saint-Armand (2000), Quebec City (2003, 2018), Parc de la Yamaska (2007) and Gatineau (2017). Records from Pierre Paquin's personal collection (personal communication, 2021) add Point-Viau (1999), Montréal-Nord (1999), Varennes (2000) and Boucherville (2001). It appears that A. fasciger was established in southern Quebec by the mid-1990s and is widely distributed there at present. Records from Claude Simard (personal correspondence, 2021, 2022) establish that it is now a common synanthrope in Montreal. While I was unable to locate published records from the Maritimes, where its presence is expected, iNaturalist produced two convincing photographs from Fredricton, New Brunswick.

The first specimen of A. fasciger found from western Canada was a male collected from an inside wall of my house in Saskatoon, SK in late May of 2014. Several more were collected on or in the house throughout summer and autumn and it appeared that the species was solidly established, at least in my neighbourhood, at the time. Subsequently, on BugGuide, I came across a photograph by Sara Simpkins taken on 30 September 2012 in Saskatoon, showing what was almost certainly an A. fasciger. BugGuide also produced records from Winnipeg, Manitoba (28 June 2013) and from Whitecourt, Alberta in 2010 by John Sloan who thought his specimen might have been brought in on greenhouse plants. In March of 2015 Janet Scott, from Medicine Hat, Alberta submitted to the Alberta Bugs listserv photos of an A. fasciger found in a friend’s house. This evidence suggests that between 2010 and 2015, A. fasciger became established in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. There is one early record of fasciger from Manitoba (Aitchison-Bennell & Dondale 1992). The paper refers to a grid square in northeastern Manitoba but an earlier manuscript version of the paper, which included locality data, gave the location as "Churchill. In building. MMMN [Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature]". Blagoev et al. (2013) did not find this species in his survey of the spiders of the Churchill area so it seems a population of fasciger was not established there.

Figure 4 Distribution of Attulus fasciger in Canada: open circles – before 2000; solid circles – after 2000; stars – after 2000, from photographs.

There appear to be no authentic Canadian records of its presence west of the Rockies. Claudia Copeley (personal communication, 2020) confirmed its absence in the RBCM collection. There is one anomalous record of fasciger from wild habitat at Babine Lake in northern British Columbia (West et al. 1984). Robb Bennett (personal communication, 2020) searched the CNC arachnid collection for it but was unable to locate it and suspects that it might have been a misidentification as there was a female of the closely related Attulus (Sitticus) finschii (L. Koch, 1879) from that locality in the collection. Another possibility is that the use of fasciger for finschii was a lapsus calami in the preparation of the manuscript. In any case, this record should be considered doubtful until a specimen to support it is located. There is one photographic record from Kamloops in iNaturalist but the specimen in question does not appear to be A. fasciger.

Photographs (fig. 1−3) are included to facilitate identification. There is a detailed description of the species in Prószyński (1968). Maddison et al. (2020) provide further illustrations and explain fasciger's current generic placement.


Pierre Paquin provided locality records and helped with the assembly of this note. Claudia Copley (Royal British Columbia Museum), Rod Crawford (Burke Museum, WA) and Darrell Ubick (California Academy of Sciences) checked their collection data for A. fasciger records. Robb Bennett provided information on the Babine Lake record. Claude Simard provided data on recent Montreal records. At the Field Museum assistant collection manager Rebekah Baqiran and Nina Sandlin invested considerable effort in attempting to locate the missing Oregon specimen. Tiziano Hurni-Cranston reviewed the manuscript and provided helpful suggestions. Finally, Ludovic Leclerc produced the distribution map. I would like to thank them all.

Literature cited

Aitchison-Benell C, Dondale CD, 1992 ["1990"]. A checklist of Manitoba spiders (Araneae) with notes on geographic relationships. Le Naturaliste canadien (Revue d'Écologie et Systématique) 117:215–237.

Blagoev GA, Nikolova NI, Sobel CN, Hebert PD, Adamowicz SJ. 2013. Spiders (Araneae) of Churchill, Manitoba: DNA barcodes and morphology reveal high species diversity and new Canadian records. BMC Ecology 13(44):1–17.

BOLD Public Data Portal. . Checked 23 Feb 2022.

BugGuide. Photographic records checked, 23 Jan 2022.

Cutler B. 1965. The jumping spiders of New York City (Araneae: Salticidae). Journal of The New York Entomological Society 73:138–143.

Cutler B. 1990. Synanthropic Salticidae of the northeast United States. Peckhamia 2(6):91–92.

Hutchinson R, Alvo R. 1998. Première mention de Sitticus fasciger (Simon) (Araneae : Salticidae) au Québec. Fabreries 23:23–24.

Hutchinson R, Simard C. 2020. Nouvelles mentions de Attulus fasciger (Simon) (Araneae: Salticidae) pour le Québec. Nouv'Ailes 30(2):10–11.

iNaturalist. Photographic records checked, 23 Feb 2022.

Maddison WP, Maddison DR, Derkarabetian S, Hedin M. 2020. Sitticine jumping spiders: phylogeny, classification, and chromosomes (Araneae, Salticidae, Sitticini). ZooKeys 925:1–54

Prószyński J. 1968. Revision of the spider genus Sitticus Simon, 1901 (Araneida, Salticidae), I. The terebratus group. Annales Zoologici, Warszawa 26:391–407.
SCAN. Specimen records checked, 22 Feb 2022.

West R, Dondale CD, Ring RA. 1984. A revised checklist of the spiders (Araneae) of British Columbia. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 81:80–98.


Attulus fasciger (Salticidae)
CANADA: Alberta: Medicine Hat [50.03, -110.7] iii. 2015 (Alberta Bugs listserv) • Whitecourt [54.12, -115.66] 2010 (Alberta Bugs listserv) • Manitoba: Brandon [48.84, -99.95] 21.vii.2019 (iNaturalist) • Churchill [58.76, -94.16] pre-1990 (Aitchison & Dondale ms) • Mordan [49.19, -98.1] 03.viii.2021 (iNaturalist) • Winnipeg [49.89, -97.14] (BugGuide) • New-Brunswick: Fredericton [45.96, -66.64] iv.2016 (iNaturalist) • Fredericton [45.96, -66.64] 05.ix.2020 (iNaturalist) • Ontario: Bancroft [45.06, -77.86] 26vi.2021 (iNaturalist) • Bath [44.18, -76.77] 09.vii.2015 (BugGuide) • Belleville [44.16, -77.38] 10.viii.1963 (Cutler (1965)) • Bonfield [46.23, -79.15] 14.v.2021 (iNaturalist) • Burlington [43.32, -79.79] no date (Maddison et al 2020) • Essex [42.17, -84.81] 21.iv.2016 (BugGuide) • Guelph [43.53, -80.23] (BOLD ) • Huntsville [45.32, -79.21] 27.v.2020 (iNaturalist) • Kingston [44.23, -76.49] (iNaturalist) • London [42.98, -81.25] 13.v.1991 (D.J. Buckle) • Long Sault [45.03, -74.89] 10.vii./2019 (iNaturalist) • Niagra-on-the-Lake [43.25, -79.08] 16.v.1991 (D.J. Buckle) • Ottawa [45.03, -74.89] pre-1998 (Hutchinson & Alvo 1998) • Sault Sainte Marie [46.51, -84.34] 18.v./2021 (iNaturalist) • Sudbury [46.48, -81.04] 04.ix.2021 (iNaturalist) • Thunder Bay [48.38, -89.25] 09.vii./2021 (iNaturalist) • Toronto [43.65, -79.39] 18.v.2021 (iNaturalist) • Tweed [44.48, -77.31] 08.xi.2021 (iNaturalist) • Waterloo [43.45, -80.5] 11.x.2021 (iNaturalist) • Quebec: Argenteuil [45.7, -74.31] iv.2020 (iNaturalist) • Aylmer [45.4, -75.84] 2000 (Hutchinson & Simard 2020) • Boucherville [45.58, -73.43] 2001 (P. Paquin) • Foster [45.29, -72.49] 20.vii.2021 (iNaturalist) • Gatineau [45.5, -75.7] 2017 (Hutchinson & Simard 2020) • Hull [45.45, -75.74] (Hutchinson & Alvo 1998) • Montreal-Nord [45.61, 73.72] 1999 (P. Paquin) • Park de la Yamaska [45.43, -72.62] 2007 (Hutchinson & Simard 2020) • Point-Viau [45.55, -73.65] 1999 (P. Paquin) • Quebec City [46.83, -71.25] 2003 (Hutchinson & Simard 2020) • Saint-Eustache [45.55, -73.92] 1999 (Hutchinson & Simard 2020) • Saint-Armand [45.03, -73.04] 2000 (Hutchinson & Simard 2020) • Saint-Hubert [45.5, -73.41] (BugGuide) • Sherbrooke [45.4, -72.49] 04.x.2020 (iNaturalist) • Terrabonne [45.69, -73.63] 28.vii.2020 (iNaturalist) • Varennes [45.68, -73.43] 2000 (P. Paquin) • Saskatchewan: Regina [50.45, -104.62] 04.vii.2021 (iNaturalist) • Saskatoon [52.12, -106.64] 29.v./2014 (D.J. Buckle)

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