Currently viewing the category: "Spiders"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beautiful Spider
Location: No. California
August 15, 2014 11:29 am
This beauty appeared last summer and “hung” around about a month.
Our friends in a neighboring community had one too.
I have not seen one previously or since.
Other than Orb Weaver haven’t been able to put a name to it.
Can you?
Signature: Rod Tidemann

Orbweaver

Spotted Orbweaver

Dear Rod,
Your letter fills us with enthusiasm immediately after we posted a query and image that resulted in Unnecessary Carnage rather than an appreciation of the beauty of the natural world.  We are relatively certain this is a Spotted Orbweaver or Barn Spider,
Neoscona crucifera, and you can compare your image to this image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, they:  “build thier webs at dusk and then take the webs back down around dawn.”  Thanks for also supplying us with a ventral view, and as you can see, the pattern on the underside of the body also matches this Spotted Orbweaver that is pictured on BugGuide.

Spotted Orbweaver

Spotted Orbweaver

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your quick and enthusiastic response.  A Barn Spider  I.D. takes me back to when I was a lad growing up on the farm and we actually had Barn Spiders in the barn.  They were numerous and huge.  Of course I was a small boy and most things were huge. They were fascinating.  Unfortunately most of our spiders around here are either “Daddy Longlegs” or Black Widows; Less  fascinating.
Thanks
Wonderful work
Rod

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: El Paso, Texas – blocks away from the Rio Grande River
August 16, 2014 2:31 am
I live in the southwest. El Paso, Texas to be exact. i was walking up to my house which is very dark at night, i was dressed very lightly and immediately felt a web all over the front of my body. It was very thick. the thickest that i have ever felt in my life, more thick than that of a black widow. i quickly started pulling the web off of me which was very thick and sticky, was very worried it was a black widow which is very common in el paso. i used the light of my phone to light up a gourd vine that i walked under to find a large gray spider that i have never seen before. unfortunately i have elder people and children that would be walking through there shortly so i had no choice but to pray the spider which was the last thing that i wanted to do 🙁 i am worried that this spider is dangerous. please can you identify this spider for me. it was larger than a black widow and had a huge web taller then me. i am 5-11.
Signature: Nathan D

Orbweaver Carnage

Orbweaver Carnage

Dear Nathan,
We are awed that you chose to “pray” in an effort to dispatch this harmless Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  See BugGuide for more information on these beneficial spiders.  Orbweavers build orb-shaped webs and a member of this family was the inspiration for the classic children’s tale “Charlotte’s Web”.
  Orbweavers are rarely found outside of their webs, and they tend to build webs in the same locations day after day.  Orbweavers snare many harmful insects in their webs, and noctural species undoubtedly kill numerous mosquitoes which we believe you will agree is a positive attribute.  Try to educate your visitors about the presence of Orbweavers on your property and let them know that these are harmless and beneficial spiders.  For the record, Black Widows do not spin such organized webs and they do not spin out in the open.  Because we believe this harmless Orbweaver was unnecessarily killed, albeit with prayer, we are tagging this as Unnecessary Carnage.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Epic bug battle
Location: Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness, Northeastern Oregon, in a river canyon
August 14, 2014 6:56 pm
Dear bugman,
In late April of 2009, my best friend and I went backpacking in the remote Wenaha-Tucannon wilderness of Northeastern Oregon, along the Wenaha river canyon. It was a spectacular trip made even more spectacular when it ended in near disaster; during a flash flood, my backpack with all of its photographic equipment was swept away and we narrowly escaped the same fate. Remarkably, the backpack was found one month ago by some hikers who pulled out one of the photo memory cards and brought it to the local sheriff, who tracked me down on facebook.
ANYWAYS, during the intervening 5 years, one of our greatest regrets about losing the photos was that we had witnessed an epic struggle between the largest spider I’ve ever seen in Oregon, and an enormous (for Oregon) long, cylindrical fly with a bright orange head that I had never seen before and couldn’t easily identify with online searches. We doubted anyone would ever believe how completely legendary and unbelievable the struggle was as these two titans locked themselves into a dance of death for at least 10 minutes. They did not care that we were there one bit. The battle was too fierce. We were able to get right up next to them with cameras and take photos….. and now we finally have those photos back! Unfortunately, my good camera with a macro lens was permanently lost, so the photos we have are only ‘decent,’ but I think they will work. I’ll be forever grateful if you can help give even more life to this newly revived fabled cha pter of my life by identifying these two mighty contestants.
Thanks so much,
John Felder
P.S. If it helps, I also have a low quality video – no fine details in focus but it give a better sense of the size because of the movement that’s visible.
Signature: John Felder

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Dear John,
If forced to choose which we are more impressed with, your amazing images or your fantastic story, we are going to have to go with the story, which is why we are featuring this posting on our scrolling feature bar.  The fact that you witnessed this “Epic Bug Battle” and then lost the images and then reclaimed the images after five years is truly an amazing story worth relaying.  The spider is a Wolf Spider in the family Lycosidae, and based on the size and eye arrangement (see BugGuide) we believe it is in the genus
Hogna.  The Carolina Wolf Spider, Hogna carolinensis, is found in Oregon, and you can see images of it on BugGuide which states:  “Considered to be the largest wolf spider in North America.” The Carolina Wolf Spider is also represented on the Spiders.Us site which states:  “This species is uncommon in the Pacific Northwest, but we have included those states in our range listing because it is still possible to find them there.”  We are going to check with spider expert Mandy Howe to get her opinion on the species.  The prey is a Giant Stonefly in the genus Pteronarcys, and it is most likely the California SalmonflyPteronarcys californica.  Here is an image from BugGuide.  One interesting note is that this sighting obviously occurred near the river, which is the correct habitat for the California Salmonfly, however, Spiders.Us indicates of the Carolina Wolf Spider:  “This spider is typically found in arid habitats such as deserts, prairies, glades, and open fields and pastures.”  Thanks again for providing your fascinating story for the entertainment and awe of our readership.  On a final note, we really hope we hear back from Mandy regarding the identity of this Wolf Spider because it may represent and new or little documented species as it was observed in such a remote location.

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Hi Eric,
This is a truly amazing story with some wonderful images.  I’m not certain how good you are with Spiders, but since you lived in Oregon, I am hoping you can provide some input.  Can you confirm or correct the identity of this Wolf Spider:  Carolina Wolf Spider or other???  I have also contacted Mandy Howe.
thanks
Daniel

Eric Eaton Disagrees
Hi, Daniel:
Definitely “other.”  I’m not even sure there are any recent records of the Carolina Wolf Spider from Oregon.  Hopefully Mandy can put it to genus.
Eric

Ed. Note:  We are guessing that Eric agrees that this is a Wolf Spider, but not that it is a Carolina Wolf Spider.

Wow!  Thanks so much!!!!
I found the salmonfly online shortly after I submitted the photo and then I felt guilty for potentially wasting your time, so I’m glad you liked it!!!
A couple of things that add up based on what you’ve told me:
1) the habitat for Hogna Carolinensis:  the area around the Wenaha river is usually quite arid in terms of ambient humidity throughout the year and probably rainfall as well.  It’s the type of canyon that’s covered in dry brown grasses, rocks, and pine trees in the gulches but not on the exposed ridges.  In spring, the river swells from the melting snowfall of winter in the mountains, but rain is usually fairly sparse. EXCEPT for the week we were there, when it rained almost nonstop, causing the flood conditions and raising the river to probably historic levels.  So I think that if Hogna Carolinensis likes arid conditions, it probably likes the Wenaha area.
2). From what I’ve read, emergence of salmonfly larvae from the water tends to occur when rivers are at peak or rapid flow, which was definitely the case at the time we were there, further confirming the identity of the salmonfly.
I am going to send you a link to the (shoddy) video I have. Quality is poor but you can see their movements as they battle. Very compelling.
The hikers who found my pack were unable to open the rusted body of my metal dSLR to remove the memory card, so we unfortunately only have the lower quality images that my friend took with his plastic lower-megapixel point and shoot. Otherwise, we would have glorious, high definition, macro lens shots and video, but at least we have something.
Thanks again for the help and for featuring the story. You guys are great. I’ll send a link to the video when I get home.
Best,
John

Here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iQSxBXFy6c
Cheers,
John

Thanks for the update John.  We were under the impression that the images you sent were from the card retrieved from the missing camera.  Your most recent email indicates that you were always in the possession of the images.  Do you by chance have a dorsal view looking down on the top of the spider?

No no, your initial impression was correct.  I only just got the images this week after not having them for 5 years.
What I was attempting to convey is that there were two cameras in the missing backpack and the hikers who found it only retrieved the memory card from one of the cameras, which happened to be the poorer quality one.  If they had been able to get the images out of the other camera (they didn’t because it was rusted shut and they couldn’t get the memory card out and didn’t want to carry out the entire camera), we would have been dealing with better quality images.  That’s all.  The story, as it is posted on your website, is completely accurate.
Here are the closest I have to a dorsal view (focus not great):
John

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Wolf Spider eats Giant Salmonfly

Thanks for the clarification.  Bummer:  Too bad they didn’t bust the camera body to get the memory card.  Thanks for providing the dorsal view.  We wanted to be able to show the markings on the carapace.

Update November 15, 2015:  Mandy Howe Identifies Alopecosa kochi
Hi Daniel,
He got some cool shots, and great story! The wolf spider is a female Alopecosa kochi, e.g. http://bugguide.net/node/view/758183/bgimage (the carapace on Lenny’s example there has been rubbed off a bit though). The specimens found in the western states have a slightly different appearance than the ones found further east.
Hope that helps, even though I’m replying over a year late; sorry about that!
Mandy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Banana Spider
Location: South East Texas
August 13, 2014 6:44 pm
Not sure if it’s actaully called a Banana Spider but that’s what we call them in my area. We have many of these in the yard. Our yard is a like a spider wonderland!
Signature: S. Miller

Banana Spider

Banana Spider

Dear S. Miller,
Your spider is
Nephila clavipes, and Banana Spider is one common name, though the more widely used common name is Golden Silk Spider because of the strength of the silk, which is gold in color.  Though they might bite if carelessly handled, these Banana Spiders are considered harmless.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unidentified spider
Location: Delphi, Central Greece, Southern Europe
August 13, 2014 7:57 am
This spider was seen in Delphi, Greece, on 10th May 2014. I haven’t seen one before… It is about 3 – 4 cm long, black and hairy with an orange ring on its back which covers its belly. I moved it with my leg and it felt endangered, so it lift its forelegs to attack. Pretty scary and amazing! I would be delighted if you could send me feedback with the species of this spider as to search for further information. Thank you in advance!
Signature: Demetrios Grigoropoulos

Ladybird Spider: Eresus ruficapillus

Ladybird Spider: Eresus ruficapillus

Dear Demetrios,
This is a Ladybird Spider in the family Eresidae,
and it is a female spider.  The males and females exhibit pronounced sexual dimorphism, and they don’t even resemble the same species.  Most examples of male Ladybird Spiders we have seen have bright red abdomens with black spots, and their coloration and markings resemble those of a Ladybird Beetle, hence the common name.  We located an image of the Eresidae, Lady bird spider page that looks very much like your individual, and you must scroll down to Eresus ruficapillus to view the images.  Another individual is pictured on the Arachnofilia forum.  Ladybird Spiders are not commonly encountered and there is much evidence that they are endangered. 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider-like bug with a “skirt”
Location: Northern indiana
August 11, 2014 1:49 pm
We live in northern Indiana. We found what at first glance looked like a spider, but upon closer inspection appears to be an insect. It even behaved like a spider, running gracefully along a web. These photos were taken on August 11, 2014 around 5:00 pm. The bug was about a half inch long. I would love to know what it is.
Signature: Louann

Spined Micrathena

Spined Micrathena

Hi Louann,
This is a Spiny Orbweaver in the genus
Micrathena, commonly called the Spined Micrathena, Micrathena gracilis.  You can compare your image to this image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Females are mostly white or pale yellow, mottled with black or brown. They have ten spines on the chunky abdomen. Size 8 – 10 mm.”  Your individual is a female.  She is perfectly harmless to humans. 

Thank you so much! I’ve never seen one before!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination