What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Saw this bug crawling around on the front of our house and front stoop. It has 8 red legs and looks like it has three segments. Is this a spider? I’d hate to find this crawling around on my bed one night. Should we be concerned about this bug? We live on the east coast.
Bruce

Dear Bruce,
It’s a spider. I’m not sure exactly what, but it is impressive. I will
continue to try to identify it. How large was it? Where on the east coast?

Daniel,
We live in Calvert County, Maryland. The spider was about 3/4″ long. Let me
know what you find out. This is a scary looking spider for sure!
Bruce

Dear Bruce,
I have been obsessed with your spider.After hours online, I found it. It is one of three spiders on the endangered species list in Maryland, and is also endangered in most of its range. It seems to be most common in Alabama, though fire ants and armadillos have harmed its numbers there as well. I hope your red legged purseweb spider is still among the living. Here is some additional information I copied from a site. Thank you for your awesome photo. Sphodros rufipes Found in Alabama The First Recorded Distribution of the Purseweb Spider, Sphodros rufipes (Family Atypidae), from Alabama. Rose M. Parrino, W. Mike Howell,Ph.D., and Ronald L. Jenkins,Ph.D., Department of Biology, Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35229 The spider family Atypidae represents an ancient branch of the infraorder Mygalomorphae. These large, primitive spiders have been recorded for most of the southeastern United States, but no records have been documented for the State of Alabama. It is the purpose of this report to officially record the purseweb spider, Sphodros rufipes Latreille from Alabama. These spiders are referred to as “purseweb spiders” because of the tough, tubular web which they construct in the ground at the base of a tree and extend aerially up the side of the tree attaching it to the tree’s bark. The web is further camouflaged by the addition of lichens, algae, dead leaf bits, dirt and other debris to its surface. When an insect disturbs the web’s surface, the purseweb spider reacts by biting its prey through the tube, cutting a slit, repairing the slit, and awaiting another meal. According to Gertsch and Platnick (1980, Amer. Mus. Novitates No. 2704: 1-39, figs. 1-60), S. rufipes previously has been found at four sites in Tennessee, two in North Carolina, one in Georgia, six in northern Florida, two in Mississippi, four in Louisiana, and one in Texas. A population of Sphodros rufipes was discovered at the Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, Jefferson County, AL, (T 17S, R 2W, sec 13) on 16 Oct. 1997. The aerial portion of the web was approximately 140 mm above the ground and a uniform 20 mm in its width. Only 10-12 mm of the top portion of the tube was attached to tree, and this portion of the tube was white and not camouflaged. When the underground portion of the web, which extended to approximately 160 mm, was excavated and the tubular web was removed, it was found to contain a large female spider, 25 mm in total body length. The web also contained approximately 228 spiderlings, each about 2.5 mm in total body length. All spiderlings, except for 10 specimens, were returned to the site. The 10 spiderlings and the adult female were preserved for scientific documentation and deposited in the American Museum of Natural History. The adult specimen was examined by Dr. Norman Platnick, who verified it as S. rufipes.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Calvert County, Maryland

3 Responses to Help! I’m having Nightmares!

  1. Val says:

    I saw one in Georgia recently

  2. Lauren says:

    My husband and I saw one recently on our property in East TN.

  3. Denise Sartell says:

    I live in Hardy Virginia and found one crawling outside my garage door yesterday.

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