Subject: Michigan Funnel Web Spider
Location: Millington Michigan
October 4, 2014 1:54 pm
Will you please help me identify this spider for my sister? She was pulling tall-ish (around 2′ tall) weeds when this spider jumped at her. She told me that a thick, funnel web was located close to where the spider came from. I would like to be able to give her more information than “It’s a funnel-web spider sis.” . Especially since spiders have the ability to scare the bejeebers out of her! No one should have to go through life without their bejeebers. Thanks for your help.
With all due respect, we find it somewhat odd that your sister had the bejeebers scared out of her, but the spider appears to have died because of the encounter. We actually think this looks more like a Wolf Spider than a Funnel Web Spider, and in trying to research its identity on BugGuide, we are struck with the similarity of its appearance to members of the genus Sosippus, the Funnel Web Wolf Spiders. BugGuide only has reports of the genus Sosippus from Florida and California, so we don’t really believe this spider is a Funnel Web Wolf Spider. Our money is on this being a Carolina Wolf Spider, Hogna carolinensis, based on this image posted to BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Orange paturons (chelicera) and black around the the “knees” ventrally are characteristics of the species.(Jeff Hollenbeck)” and your individual does appear to have the orange chelicerae or fangs. BugGuide also notes: “Considered to be the largest wolf spider in North America.” Large Wolf Spiders may bite, but they are considered harmless. Somehow, no matter what we have to say about the harmless and beneficial attributes of spiders, we would not be able to convince your sister to attempt peaceful cohabitation. If our suspicions about how this individual met its fate are correct, our Unnecessary Carnage tag is duly warranted. If we are wrong and this spider met with a natural death, let us know and we will remove the tag.
This was definitely an “Unnecessary Carnage” incident. My sister has been excessively frightened by spiders her whole life. Thank-you for the I.D. I have let her know what the result was and that she should not kill them in the future. Hopefully she will just run away if she encounters any other creepy crawlies.