German Spider
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 3:56 PM
Hi, WTB!
I would say that I’m a great fan, but I know that you all probably know that whoever sends you photos has to at least have an interest in your site. So yeah, another of the hundred fans of the website. Great Job!
But onto my story:
I went to Germany this summer, and While I was at Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, our group went below the castle to see a grotto. Inside, when everyone was looking at the pictures and sculptures put there by the king, yours truly was taking snapshots of the spiders living around the cave floor. This one in particular caught my eye. The light from the flash casts an awful glare in one photo, but the others I think show it pretty well. This spider was large in my mind at the time, but now that I seriously think about it, the arachnid couldn’t have been bigger than three inches stretched out.
Although, that’s why I’m asking experts: you.
Thank you much in advance, and I hope that you’ll be able to identify this critter!
Zachary Boyden
Bavaria, Germany

Cobweb Spider from Bavaria

Cobweb Spider from Bavaria

Hi Zachary,
Thanks for your kind letter.  We are not able to identify your spider species, nor the genus, but we are confident that this is a Cobweb Spider or Comb Footed Spider in the family Theridiidae.  Most spiders in this family are harmless, but it also includes the Widows and the notorious Australian Redback Spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Black spider with Black and white banded legs.
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 12:29 AM
I found two spiders in my house today.. (so-cal) I’ve found them outside before.. we also have black widows around.. anyways, this spider is black with what looks like black and yellow (or white) bands on it’s legs.. the legs are pretty long.. and it’s not hairy.. it’s not that big.. smaller than the widows.. im not sure what it is or if it’s poisionous.. please let me know.. it’s not that picture, it just resembles it.. maybe a little smaller..
Thanks, Tiffany
Geographic Location of Bug:  Kitchen and Bathroom..

Golden Orb Weaver

Golden Orb Weaver

Hi Tiffany,
With all due respect, “kitchen and bathroom” was not really what we had in mind on our form that requests a geographic location.  It would be far more helpful to know the name of the city or state or country where you found the spider, but upon rereading your letter, we see that you indicate Southern California.  Your spider is a relatively easy identification for us.  This is Argiope aurantia, a Golden Orb Weaver, but it also has numerous other common names.  All spiders are poisonous, but the Golden Orb Weaver does not pose a threat were it to bite.  Since it is a large spider, a bite might be painful, but it would result in little more that slight swelling and irritation.  Upon inserting your photo into this posting, we realized that the individual spider in the photo was not photographed in your kitchen or bathroom.  That may just nullify our identification.  Sending a photo other than the actual specimen you want identified is a dicey venture.  Also, we only like to post images from the originators of the photos, because that implies permission to post.  We are really hoping the internet police don’t come knocking at our door (or flooding our website with demands to remove the image at once) but we will tempt fate since we invested so much time in creating this posting.  We also were happy as we just posted an image of a Gambian  Golden Silk Spider and spoke about the Golden Orb Weaver in that posting.

Help identifying African spider
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 10:04 AM
Hi Bugman,
I took this photo in The Gambia last week and am having trouble identifying it. It looks a little like the Golden Orb Weaver but the marking look a little different.
Any ideas?
Jodie Wood
Gambia

Golden Silk Spider

Golden Silk Spider from Gambia

Hi Jodie,
Your spider is a Golden Silk Spider in the Genus Nephila. There is currently a photo making the rounds on the internet of an Australian Nephila species, probably Nephila maculata, that has captured a bird, a Chestnut Breasted Mannikin, in its web. Several readers have sent us that photo but we don’t publish third party photos unknowingly without getting the photographer’s permission. Telegraph.UK.co calls that spider a Golden Orb Weaver, but using common names can cause confusion since that common name refers to a different species, Argiope aurantia, in the U.S. We like Golden Silk Spider since the color of the silk is really Golden. Wikipedia refers to the Nephila species as the Golden Silk Orb-Weavers. There was an effort at one time to weave the silk of the Nephila species into fabric because of its strength. The strength of the silk allows the Golden Silk Spider to occasionally capture a small bird. The silk of the American Golden Orb Weaver is also quite strong, and we have photos submitted to our site of an Argiope aurantia feeding on a hummingbird. The only American species of Nephila is Nephila clavipes, also called a Banana Spider, but that common name also refers to other species of spiders. All we can say for certain regarding your lovely photo is that it is in the genus Nephila, and that we prefer the common name Golden Silk Spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Amphibian bug
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 12:09 PM
Hi Whats that bug team , This afternoon my husband was cleaning out the pool and found this thing crawling out of it . Its huge and its mean looking , It has to weird thing coming out of its behind whenit gets aggrevated, we’ve never seen anything like this . I hope u can help us figure out whats that bug .
Sorry if the pictures are a bit blurry .
Stevens familly
Saint-constant, Quebec ,Canada

Giant Water Bug

Giant Water Bug

Hi Stevens Family,
The tenant in your pool is a Giant Water Bug or Toe-Biter.  Though it is aquatic, it can also fly and is attracted to lights, hence the common name Electric Light Bug.  The weird thing coming from its behind is a snorkel-like breathing device.

Sea urchin spider??
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 10:08 AM
Hi Daniel. What the heck? I found this little guy on one of my house plants. I did not see this spider on your site and I tried looking on What’s that Bug and couldn’t find it. I’m sure it is on that site but I just haven’t gotten the hang of WTB. I get as far as spiders, and look at each group, but I don’t know how to expand it farther.
I just brought the plant in from outdoors not too long ago. I’m in Florence, MA.
Elizabeth

Spider Riddled with Fungus

Spider Riddled with Fungus

Hi Elizabeth,
This looks like one of the Ant Mimic Jumping Spiders, and it is riddled with fungus. We cannot imagine that the spider was alive when you found it, but if it was, it was doomed to an imminent and not too distant death.

How right you are!  It IS dead!  And here we just thought it was being so cooperative.  I did not know that spiders could get fungus and die.  Of course, I know nothing else about spiders either, so no surprise.  Thank you so much for a great website.
Betsy

Beetle found in bathroom
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 8:35 AM
We keep finding these beetles in the bathroom, and rarely in the kitchen (adjoining walls).
I think they are between 1/8 and 1/4 inch long.
They are black, and havea hard shell
Can you tell us what they are?
No house plants, no window in the bathroom.
We do have trees and plants outside, and have been bringing in dirt and manure to improve the yard.
thank you
Joe and Kathy
Oregon – near Portland

Strawberry Root Weevil

Strawberry Root Weevil

Hi Joe and Kathy,
While there are some Weevils that infest stored grain products, this is not one of them.  We did some searching on Bugguide, and believe your Weevil is in the genus Otiorhynchus.  Two species possibilities are Otiorhynchus sulcatus, Black Vine Weevil, which “may seek out hibernation sites in homes” or Otiorhynchus ovatus , the Strawberry Root Weevil , which feeds on “strawberries, other herbaceous plants, and tree seedlings in nurseries; larvae live in the soil, and feed continuously on the roots of seedlings; adults feed at night on the leaves, stem, and berries.”  If that dirt and manure you are adding to your yard is being used to fertilize strawberries, we would vote for the Strawberry Root Weevil.