Subject: Hello and hairy spider
Location: Hollywood California
November 25, 2015 8:24 pm
Hello bugman! So at work today we found a nice sized brown spider, and it is not one I have seen before. I work in North Hollywood California at a warehouse near the Burbank airport. We get shipments in from Japan, Korea, & China (and I mention this only if this species is found outside of the US). It is fairly active, and I am assuming that it is a male due to the size of its Pedipalps (I can be totally wrong tho haha). As for its description, it is brown, hairy, roughly about 2 inches wide (with legs spread out). It has eight eyes, 4 in a row stacked (Top are larger, with the 2 center being the biggest)and the 4 below it are much smaller. Its fangs rest underneath it, folded in. I decided to take it home and made a small enclosure for it which is roughly 4x4x8. I have a few more pictures of it if needed, and I hope I can get an ID with the info that I provided haha. Thanks a bunch! You are the best!
You have us stumped. The only spider we can think of with this general size and coloration that we would expect to find in Southern California is a Giant Crab Spider, Olios giganteus, but the front two pairs of legs on your individual look far too short and the chelicerae seem much too light. What your spider really reminds us of is a Nursery Web Spider like this lovely golden Pisaurina mira pictured on BugGuide, but they do not range into the western states. It doesn’t appear your individual has spun a web, so we are concluding it is some species that hunts rather than a species that waits to snare prey, but we do not believe this is a Wolf Spider. We are contacting Eric Eaton and Mandy Howe for some assistance. Stay tuned.
Eric Eaton agrees with our ID of a Nursery Web Spider
I agree it looks most like Pisaurina mira.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
Mandy Howe confirms identification
Weird! (In California, I mean.) It looks like a Pisaurina mira to me, too. It’s a penultimate male and it seems “big” so I tried to use the ruler to estimate the size and looks like he’s about 15mm in body length, which is the upper limit for the males already (they’re described as being 10-15mm full grown). Never really seen one of these get transported before, but anything’s possible! Maybe in shrubs or plants from a nursery or something? There are some similar-looking spiders in the family Pisauridae from around the world, but I’d guess our native P. mira would be more likely. I’ll ask around and see if anyone else has seen these in CA. The last time I was surprised was when I saw some hobo spiders from Pickering, Ontario and it turned out to be a “known” established population that arachnologists just hadn’t published or publicly talked about. So I’ll ask about this one too and see if anyone “knows” anything.
(The eye arrangement rules out the Ctenidae species from Central/South America; I just mention that because some ctenids can look similar to this too, and occasionally get transported.)
Happy Thanksgiving to the both of you, too! I’m still in a turkey coma at the moment….
Thanks for the confirmation Mandy. We will attempt to get additional information from Jeeb, or request that he keep an eye out for any females to determine if there is an established population in Southern California.
Thank you very much for this update and I hope you had a good thanksgiving! This has been pretty exciting ha ha, i’ll keep an eye out to see if there are any other of these guys at work, especially if its a female. Where is this species normally found?
I am glad to help out in anyway I can, please let me know if you need anything from me. As for housing it/keeping it, let me know if there is any place I can take it to, or if you guys would be interested in taking it. Ha ha, if I hold onto him it would most likely be as a pet, so if I can take him somewhere that would benefit any sort of research I would be more than happy to oblige.
Hi again Jeeb,
Pisaurina mira is found in eastern North America and it is nit reported west of Texas according to BugGuide. We don’t believe Nursery Spiders are commonly kept as pets as they do not live very long. You can try contacting the LA County Museum of Natural History Spider Survey. We recently conated a large gopher snake that was struck by a car in front of our offices and we got a very nice behind the scenes tour.