Currently viewing the category: "Spiders"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: brown spider!
Location: malibu, california
February 6, 2016 12:30 am
hi! we found this cool spider on the street between dunes/beach in malibu, california. tried googling and couldn’t figure out what it was
Signature: Thanks so much! Erica

Trapdoor Spider

Southern Coastal Dune Trapdoor Spider

Dear Erica,
We immediately recognized your spider as a Trapdoor Spider, but we are very excited as we believe we have correctly identified it as a Southern Coastal Dune Trapdoor Spider,
Aptostichus simus, based on this BugGuide image.  All indications are that this species is endemic to coastal dunes in Southern California.  According to an online article we located:  “The tradpoor spider Aptostichus simus inhabits coastal dunes of southern California and the California Channel Islands (Ramirez 1995).  It lives in burrows concentrated in and about stands of native dune vegetation and extending into the dunes amid litter and the root systems of the plants.”

Thanks so much for the reply! So interesting to learn! :) I just moved out here from NJ and can’t wait to discover more things I didn’t find there!

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider Egg Sac
Location: Adelaide, Australia
February 4, 2016 8:45 pm
Dear Bugman,
We found a spider’s egg sac hanging on our painting easel. It was round and white and grey, and it was hanging on a thread. We looked it up and decided it looked like the egg sac of a two-tailed spider, but we aren’t sure if these spiders live where we are.
Yesterday we noticed it had started to open. We looked inside with our microscope and saw baby spiders! Do you know what type they are? What sort of home or food do they need?
We really like spiders, especially peacock spiders!
Signature: From the Kangaroo’s Room (3 to 6 year olds)

Spider Egg Sac

Spider Egg Sac

Dear Kangaroo’ Room kids,
We will attempt to identify your Spider Egg Sac, but our gut feeling is that this is an Orbweaver Egg Sac.  What we find most surprising is the few individual spiderlings inside.  They also seem quite large to be hatchlings.  Normally we expect to see hundreds of spiderlings emerge from an Egg Sac.  Perhaps a survival strategy for this species is to have the hatchlings cannibalize one another while still in the egg sac, ensuring that the strongest survive, and freeing them from having to hunt for food while very young.  Spiders are predators.  Try feeding them small insects like Aphids.

Spider Egg Sac

Spider Egg Sac

Spiderlings in Egg Sac

Spiderlings in Egg Sac

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Snowy recluse?
Location: Stratford, Connecticut
January 30, 2016 7:48 pm
I snapped this picture while dog walking last week. I was surprised to see a spider crawling across the snow. Is it a brown recluse?
Signature: Karen

Hacklemesh Weaver in the Snow

Hacklemesh Weaver in the Snow

Dear Karen,
We are going to go out on a limb and say that this Spider walking on the snow is an unusual sighting.  The pronounced pedipalps indicate your spider is a male and the large mandibles made our identification relatively easy.  The Spiders of Connecticut site has a good image of a male Hacklemesh Weaver,
Amaurobius feros, that looks like a very close match to your spider.  The site states:  “Native to Europe, it has become established in southeastern Canada and the eastern U.S., though is not limited to those regions. This robust spider is common in and around homes, but also lives under rocks, logs, in leaf litter, and other dark, humid places. Adult males are notorious for wandering in the spring.”  BugGuide also has a good matching image and the information page on BugGuide provides the common name Black Lace Weaver and states:  “A synanthropic species; found associated with humans and man-made structures.”  Spiders.Us provides this life cycle information:  “For this nocturnal spider, mating seems to take place mostly in the spring, but sometimes also in the fall. However, because this species seems to have a lifespan of 2 years or more, it is possible to find sexually mature specimens year-round, so mating may take place at any time really. Egg laying seems to happen mainly in the early summer. The female deposits eggs into a lens-shaped, silken sac about 7-15mm in diameter. Each sac can have anywhere from 60-180 individual eggs inside and it takes about 3-4 weeks before the spiderlings emerge. She stands guard over them that entire time.  Interestingly, this species is matriphagous, which means the mother sacrifices herself as food for her spiderlings. This happens a day or two after their first molt, which is roughly one week from their emergence from the egg sac. This species is considered ‘subsocial’ because, after cannibalizing their mother, the spiderlings remain together and feed communally for about a month. They overwinter in their immature stage, and most overwinter once again in their adult form.”  Our favorite bit of trivia also comes from Spiders.Us:  “Cloudsley-Thompson (1955) mentions that, in England, Amaurobius ferox is sometimes called the ‘Old Churchman’ because it can be seen scurrying around on the walls and pews of old churches before rain storms.” 

Awesome Daniel!  Thanks for the ID and the info about him.  I’ve been a fan of the site for many years and this is my first “bug of the month”, very cool!  Happy (early) spring!
Karen in CT

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this spider dangerous?
Location: Zambia
January 28, 2016 4:23 am
Hi, we’ve been living in central Zambia in the bushy outskirts of a town for 8 months now and today was the first time I’ve seen one of these kind of spiders. It’s tarantula looking and about 2 to 3 inches at full span. We have children here too which causes me even more concern and worry if they would be tempted to approach one. Can you please tell me if they bite or are poisonous please?
Signature: Many thanks for your help

Tarantula: Ceratogyrus meridionalis

Tarantula: Ceratogyrus meridionalis

Your gorgeous Tarantula is Ceratogyrus meridionalis. which we identified on BirdSpiders.  Tarantulas are not aggressive, but they can give a painful, though not generally serious, bite if carelessly handled.  Teach your children while they are young to have respect for lower beasts.

Tarantula

Tarantula

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Australian Inquiry
Location: Dorrigo, New South Wales, Australia
January 28, 2016 7:43 pm
Hello Bugman!
Im writing to you from Australia, the East Coast NSW. I have found this nest on my fathers property and its got us all puzzled. (Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing to you for help!)
Its a group of small nests/cocoons (?) suspended in an olive tree. you can see by the photo that there are seven sub-dwellings dangling down, each approximately 5-7cm (2-3″) and what you can’t quite see from the picture is that there is a egg/sphere-shaped object tucked up in the mass of leaves that are all swathed in that goldy-orange web. there has been no movement noticed to or from the nests, but over the 4 weeks we have noticed that a pinprick hole appeared overnight in only one of the seven nests top…(perhaps a visiting parasite, it didn’t look like an obvious entry/exit hole for the resident in question.) Other details are the 7 nests are hollow/hard paper sounding constructions. the web has carcasses of beetles and flies stranded in it – seemingly in a certain area above which indicates they have been eaten by a resident… thats about all the information I have… I do hope you can help out, curiosity is peaked as we wait and watch!
Signature: Kind Regards, Naomi Drage

Egg Sacs of the Magnificent Spider

Egg Sacs of the Magnificent Spider

Dear Naomi,
We are really enjoying researching your request.  Our initial impression that these resembled the Egg Sacs of Orbweaver Spiders proved to be correct when we discovered the Australian Museum page on the Magnificent Spider,
Ordgarius magnificus.  According to the Australian Museum site:  “Very little is known about the courtship and mating of Magnificent Spiders, but once egg development starts, the female’s abdomen swells up quite remarkably. She constructs a series of spindle-shaped egg sacs over several nights, and each one is filled with about 600 eggs. The egg sacs are attached to a branch, and may number up to seven. They are often parasitised by wasps and flies.  The mother spider usually dies off over winter. The baby spiders emerge in late winter to early spring and disperse by ballooning.”  The site also notes:  “During the day, the Magnificent Spider hides in a retreat made by binding leaves together with silk. Preferred trees include natives such as eucalypts in dry or wet sclerophyll forests, but these spiders are also found in suburban gardens. Often the spider’s characteristic spindle-shaped egg sacs are hanging near the retreat.”  The retreat is evident in the upper right hand corner of your excellent image.  Butterfly House also has some wonderful images and notes:  “These spiders are quite amazing. They catch their prey by creating a line of silk with a sticky blob on the end, then swinging it round and round. They emit the pheromones of some female moths to attract the male moths within range of their bolas, catching the moths rather like the Incas hunted game and the gauchos of Argentina catch their cattle.”  The Find a Spider Guide has a marvelous image of the Magnificent Spider and notes:  “The two yellow cones and red marbling on the dorsal surface of the abdomen of this spider are distinctive. Also very useful for identification purposes are the egg sacs. These are very large (about 5 cm long) and spindle-shaped, and hang in groups of about five.”  Your especially fecund female has produced seven egg sacs.  Thanks so much for providing our site with this wonderful posting for our archives.  Perhaps you will be able to get an image of the Spider herself.  She is undoubtedly the “egg/sphere-shaped object tucked up in the mass of leaves that are all swathed in that goldy-orange web” you mentioned.  The information provided on Arachne.Org may help you get that image which may require a flash on your camera.  Here is that information:  “These spiders are active at night, with a simple web in trees or tall shrubs, rarely less than 2 metres above the ground. Their presence is usually indicated by a cluster of large, brown egg sacs hanging among foliage. The egg sacs are conspicuous, up to 5 cm long – many are targeted by flies and wasps that parasitise spiders’ eggs. Up to 9 sacs may be made by a spider in a season, each with several hundred eggs. The male spiders mature within the egg sac, emerging with fully functional mating organs. At night the female spins a trapeze line from twigs above an open space in the branch or foliage. She hangs from this trapeze and spins into the space a short, single line of silk with a large droplet of very sticky silk, the bolas, at its end. The upper end of the line is held by the female’s second leg. The spider emits an airborne pheromone attractive to male moths of the family Noctuidae. Vibration sensitive hairs on the spider’s outstretched legs can sense the wing beats of an approaching moth. The spider begins to swing the bolas around in a circle beneath the moth until it is hit by the sticky bolas. It flutters in tethered flight while the spider hauls it in. The moth is then bitten, wrapped and either eaten or hung. Several moths may be caught in a night.”

Egg Sacs of a Magnificent Spider

Egg Sacs of a Magnificent Spider

Thats so great, thank you. Its an impressive (or magnificent!) looking creature! I look forward to getting out there at night and seeing if we can sight it! Will send you an update photo if we manage to catch it in action :)
There has been a change to the centre egg since I emailed, its sac surroundings have coloured in patches of rusty orange. So perhaps hatching will begin shortly!
Keep up the great work, thanks again!
Naomi Drage

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this spider?
Location: Mwandi, South Zambia
January 27, 2016 3:56 am
Hello bug people,
On a trip to Zambia in July last year, we encountered a phat spidr in the small town of Mwandi in Southern Zambia. We were wondering if you could identify it for us, we think it may be a wolf spider. Thanks very much.
Signature: Phat Spyda

Probably Wolf Spider

Probably Wolf Spider

Dear Phat Spyda,
We believe you are correct that this is a Wolf Spider in the family Lycosidae, but a dorsal view or a close-up of the eyes would aid in identification.  Your individual looks similar to this Wolf Spider from iSpot.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination