Subject: Spitting Spider
Location: Simpsonville, SC
April 1, 2017 11:59 am
I found this fascinating little arachnid in the corner of the door frame of an exterior door. I am certain it is a spitting spider of the genus Scytodes, but I have been unable to ascertain the species. I checked Bugguide.net, but neither of the two species they have identified seem to be a great match.
I went ahead and remove one of the spiders from the nest to take some pictures, but it was safely returned, hopefully unharmed. Let me know if you need any other picture from other angles to help identify this critter. I took plenty.
Thank you for your help,
Signature: A Biology Student
Dear Biology Student,
We do not have the necessary skills to identify this Spitting Spider in the genus Scytodes to the species level, but perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide assistance. We agree with your genus identification and the images you provided document the BugGuide identification information: “Spitting spiders have 6 eyes and are slow moving. They are usually fairly easy to identify by their large round cephalothorax and their long, thin legs.” The eye pattern appears to match. While BugGuide only pictures two species, the site does state: “There is only one genus, Scytodes. There are six species known in the US. Five of them are dorothea, fusca, thoracica, univittata, zapatana.” Your individual is not too dissimilar from this individual pictured on BugGuide but only identified to the genus level. According to Spiders.Us: “In North America, this species is almost exclusively found in and around homes and other buildings. They are mainly nocturnal, so finding them in cellars, closets, and dark corners is commonplace. They can sometimes be found outdoors under rocks or within leaf litter in close proximity to homes, as well.” It is also worth noting that Spiders.Us disagrees with BugGuide with the number of North American species in stating: “In addition to Scytodes thoracica, there are at least eight other described species of ‘Spitting Spider’ that have been collected in the United States; some may be endemic to the southern states, others may be synanthropic and were introduced from Central and South America via commerce.”