Subject: Large Hairy Spider (But Not a Wolf!)
Geographic location of the bug: Southern Fauquier County, VA
Time: 09:59 AM EDT
We found this on June 25th, 2017, scuttling across my brother’s foot in my mother’s backyard. Fortunately he is a pretty laid-back guy, so no squealing or panic ensued, but we knew something was going on when mid-sentence he stopped talking and his eyes got as big as dinner plates.
My mother has have lived here for over 50 years (grew up right down the street) and when both she, myself and my brother were kids we practically lived outdoors and have never seen these. After this first sighting, my mother saw 3 or 4 more in pretty quick succession, so I would assume there is a breeding population if they’ve just moved to the area.
I didn’t take a measurement, but judging from the container from fang to rear the spider was about 3/4.” So not quite as long as the wolf spiders we have here, but this one was “fatter” and bulkier than the wolf. It was also very aggressive, lunging at the “poking stick” we employed and baring his very impressive fangs rather than run away or just stand it’s ground. Unfortunately you may only see the chelicera in the photo, not sure if the part you can see curling under is more of the chelicera or the fang, but the fangs were massive and very prominent and distinct from the chelicera. All in all, this spider generally looked like a tarantula without the hairy body.
I appreciate any help you can provide. We have searched several resources and have been unable to find this spider, either amongst indigenous or foreign species.
How you want your letter signed: April
This is a Trapdoor Spider in the genus Ummidia. According to BugGuide: “Virginia south to Florida, west to Arizona, also neotropics” though BugGuide data does include sightings from Ohio and Maryland as well. According to BugGuide, these Trapdoor Spiders “Dig tunnel in ground and seal with a silk-hinged lid. They hide under this lid and make forays out when prey is sensed, presumably by vibration. Males are often found wandering in late spring, presumably looking for mates.” Trapdoor Spiders and Tarantulas are classified together with other primitive Spiders in the infraorder Mygalomorphae. Trapdoor Spiders are not considered dangerous to humans.