What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Amazing Mystery Spider and other Arachnids
Hello to a marvelous site, Let me state right up front that I find your site to be interesting, informative, entertaining and helpful. I have enjoyed looking at the photos and reading the data that you and others provide. As a new-comer to digital photography in general (and bug close-ups in particular), your site has been a gold mine for helping me identifing many of the small creatures I have photographed. I looked at every spider photo you have and nowhere have I seen anything that resembles the Mystery spider I found this past spring. I have googled every variation of “red and black spider, red legged spider, colorful spider, etc.” that I could think of with no success. I am hoping you will be able to help me with this puzzle. I am also including a small variety of other spider pics I have taken. I am not sure which species the jumping spider is but I think the garden spider is some variety of an Argiope, and that the Green one is a Lynx spider, (by the way, the wasp lost, lol). They are some of my better spider captures and I thought you might find them acceptable or useful for posting. This is the third time I have attempted to get a response from your site and maybe the third time will be charmed, lol. I realize that you can’t answer all the submittions you receive but I am counting on perserverance to accomplish my identity search for this very unusually shaped and colored spider. BTW – I am in the northeast corner of Texas and the leg span of the red and black spider was several inches across as can be seen in the image where it is on a cone flower. This is the first and only time I have ever seen this type of spider.
Lee R.

Hi Lee,
Wow, what an awesome looking spider. It is a mystery to us as well. We are going to try some searching in the Lynx Spider Family Oxyopidae, and perhaps some Arachnid expert will know what this is based on our posting. We are sorry we have not responded to your prior letters. It is nothing personal. It is just impossible to even read all the mail we receive. Eric Eaton provided this assessment: “Gee, the photo doesn’t come across very well on my WebTV, but I think the spider is probably a male of either Nephila clavipes or one of the species in the genus Argiope. Just an educated guess, though.”

Update: (05/07/2007) Mystery spider…
Gary here, from the Missouri Ozarks. “Lee” posted a photo on your site dated September of 2006 taken in Northern Texas of a colorful spider that had red and black legs, a black body with red markings on it’s back. You folks told him you didn’t know what it was. Well, I’ve found a match for it in my wife’s office and according to the University of Kentucky’s Entomology website (“Mystery Bug” section) it is a male black widow. I hope this helps. R/S
Gary Paddock
Shell Knob, Mo.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Texas

2 Responses to Red and Black Mystery Spider: Identified as Male Black Widow

  1. Karen Zimmerman says:

    Outstanding! In snakes I believe the more. colorful, the more dangerous, If true in some spiders are these very dangerous? Beautiful colors!

    • bugman says:

      Male Black Widow Spiders are not considered dangerous to humans, unlike the bite of a female which can cause severe medical reactions.

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