What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wolf Spider?
Location: Southern California
May 21, 2013 1:03 am
Hi there. I’ve been getting a few of these spiders coming inside for a visit. This most recent one had a bit of yellow to his marking. They all have the pincers that extend from the abdomen. Am guessing they’re wolf spiders, but not sure.
This particular spider was tangled in a mouse glue pad and was easy freed outside once I got his leg free. Thanks for helping identify.
Signature: Kevin

Western Parson Spider

Western Parson Spider

Hi Kevin,
This is a Parson Spider in the genus
Herpyllus, and thanks to your letter, we now know that there is both an Eastern Parson Spider and a Western Parson Spider, Herpyllus propinquus.  According to BugGuide:  “H. propinquus is basically identical in appearance to H. ecclesiasticus, and examination of reproductive organs is needed for positive identification.”  What you are referring to as “pincers” are actually spinnerets.  Because of your kindness releasing this hapless Western Parson Spider, we are tagging you as a Bug Humanitarian.

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

16 Responses to Western Parson Spider

  1. Thank you! I find these sometimes in my house in VA, and have never been able to figure out what kind they are. So glad to finally know. And yes, I save them all. I do NOT kill spiders! 🙂

  2. EmilyK says:

    We just found one of these spiders in our son’s room tonight. We’re in a little town called Foresthill in Northern CA. I’ve lived here since I was 5 in 1980 & have never seen one of these. My brave husband caught him in our bug vacuum & just released him outside. Hopefully he’ll stay out there.

  3. Eric says:

    My wife just found one in her closet. It took a while but we were finally able to I.d. it with Google’s help. Unfortunately I paniced and killed it. I had seen a brown recluse before but wasn’t sure this wasn’t one. That’s why I killed it… I also killed 22 black widows within a weeks time. And a few jumping spiders here too. Also one or two daddy long legs and several small field roaches… Bakersfield. CA

  4. George says:

    I captured 2 of these so far in my home Here in Bensenville, Illinois…

  5. Michelle S says:

    I just killed one of these in Wisconsin on my wall. shi y black with white. overnight i got something like a bee sting on my hand and its very red and painful so I was worried this one caused it. ive been finding immature ones like this on my kitchen counter and they are brown and extremely fast moving. this black mature one wasnt moving at all. i hope i dont find any more.

  6. Jordan says:

    We found these around our apartment in Montreal as kids. I used to trap them in my little insect container. These spiders are very aggressive. I trapped another Comb Clawed Spider in there with it. The Comb Clawed was twice its’ size. I remember the Parson chased it and killed it in a matter of seconds.

  7. Chares Lee says:

    I found a Western Parson Spider~Herpyllus propinquus ~ in Southern California, near Riverside.
    Are these biters, and are they in any way poisonous or dangerous, even slightly?
    This site does not condone exterminating any insects, but are so non-committal that I have to err on the side of safety until I find out with certainty.
    So, if you want to save a spider’s life, tell me they’re (with certainty and authority)?
    Thanks!

    • bugman says:

      To the best of our knowledge, the only problematic North American spiders are the Widow Spiders and the Recluse Spiders, and the latter are not found in California. Western Parson Spiders do have venom, and it is possible that a large individual might bite a human, but we find that unlikely. We are not entomologists, nor do we have any authoritative credentials in the sciences, so we are reluctant to make statements with certainty.

      • Brynnia says:

        I live in Fresno, Ca, and we do have both widow and recluse spiders here. I just found a parsons, as well.

  8. Chares Lee says:

    Thanks for the info, now I just need to find a way to keep them out of the house…

  9. aaron says:

    I just woke up and found one by my sleeping daughters head unfortunately I killed it didn’t know if it was poisonness couldn’t risk it

  10. Neill Kovrig says:

    I think there is one of these living above my front door, in San Diego – it hides when I open the door, but otherwise just hangs out up there. Ordinarily, I am scared to death of spiders, but I’ve let this one be since, frankly, it’s not inside the house, and it seems rather harmless and a little shy. I base my assumptions on the white markings on the abdomen, and the fact that the legs look very similar, as well – I haven’t gotten too close, to be honest 🙂

  11. Nancy says:

    I’m in southeastern New Hamshire. I had never seen this spider before so had to look it up. I found it floating , alive, in a plastic thermal tumbler of sugar-free Fruit Punch left on the counter overnight. I was shocked by it size and that it must’ve crawled through the small straw-hole in the cover.

  12. Karen says:

    I just found an inch long Parsons spider on the wall by my bed. Caught it carefully with a jar (as is our family’s habit) and took a moment to identify because of it’s beautiful markings. About a week ago I got a itchy spider bite on my thigh that created a slightly pink 5 inch ring around it that went away fairly quickly. Most likely it was a bite from this one and I’m kinda happy that won’t reoccur. The spider will get placed across the street or in the fields away from others. We almost never kill spiders. All my kids have been taught to catch them carefully with jars and to put them outside. We just sneak up on them, place the jar and carefully slide a thin but strong type of paper underneath that is held on top of the jar until you get the lid on or you can just hold the paper firmly on while transporting the spider. Glossy ad flyers or thicker brochures are good. We try to be careful to not harm the spiders legs while sliding the paper between the floor or wall and the top of the jar. We use drinking glasses as well and enjoy looking at the spider getting to know it a bit before releasing it.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for the helpful tip on removing Spider (and other small arthropods) from the home in a manner that protects both the spider and the human. Daniel recommends a martini glass.

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