February 10, 2010
found this spider in our bathroom twice. We have never seen this type of spider before and would love to know what type it is.
We will attempt to identify your spider. How large is it?
The spider was about 1-2 cm long. We have been told that it is from the gnaphosid family, but we would like a specific name….
The members of the family Gnapnosidae are commonly called Ground Spiders. BugGuide has a nice representation of North American species. Spiders are often very difficult to identify to the species level even for experts, which we are not. An expert would rarely make a conclusive identification from a photograph without actually examining the specimen. Your photo resembles a photo of Gnaposa bicolor from Czech Republic, but that spider has a range that is listed as Europe to Ukraine, Georgia. Wikipedia has a list of species and locations as of July 5, 2009, and you may try to web search individual names that are listed in South Africa to see if there are images posted online that match your specimen if your level of investment includes having an exact species name. If your request to have an exact species name is a question of whether the spider is harmless versus dangerous, the Colorado State University Spiders in the Home website indicates: “Ground spiders, as their common name implies, are most often found under rocks or logs where they build silken retreats and emerge only to hunt. Some species wander indoors when the weather turns cold. Ground spiders are harmless to humans.“
Update: January 26, 2011
T.M. just sent us a comment identifying this unusual spider as a Scorpion Spider in the genus Platyoides and we found a photo on Snakes.co.za that supports the identification.