Subject: Spider or Sea Creature?
Geographic location of the bug: Andover, NJ
Time: 04:52 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi Daniel,
I was poking around my patch of common milkweed today and came across this most peculiar looking creature. Looking at the enlarged image, I believe this is a spider. What I am not sure of is if it has been parasitized or if this is some sort of disguise? I’ve never seen anything like it and hoping you can shed some light on what it is.
How you want your letter signed: Deborah Bifulco
You are correct that this is a Spider and you are also correct that it has been parasitized. This Spider has expired from a fungus infection like the individual in this BugGuide image and this BugGuide image.
Thank you for the response and the links. Interestingly, I found a second spider on the same milkweed that was also dead, but looked more like the photo in the first link. I wonder if the milkweed plant is carrying something that affects the spiders.
While we would not rule it out entirely, our suspicion is that milkweed and the fungus are not related.