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

I spotted this pretty spider while on vacation in Kauai, Hawaii. It was in the bushes at the entrance to Alllerton botanical gardens on the south side of the island. The web was approx 3′-5′ wide with a thicker zig-zag of silk running through the center. The spider was about 2" wide (legtip to leg tip). I’m curous what type of spider it is and what purpose the zig-zag in the web serves.
Thanks, Erin

Dear Erin,
You have a type of Garden Spider from the family Argiopinae, the Agriopes. It is a close relative of our mainland species, Argiope aurantia, the Golden Orb Weaver, and could possibly be a color variation from Hawaii. The zig-zag design in the web is called the stabilimentum and it is believed to be a camouflague mechanism since the spiders often position themselves aligned with it. Here is one of our favorite websites with amazing photos of other garden spiders, including an exact double of your specimen.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I live in Windsor Ontario Canada. Yesterday I found a spider in the carpeted side of my basement. It was underneath a large toy in a corner. I have found this type of spider before in this room.This is also the playroom for my kids (yikes). I will try to get a digital photograph for you. It is darkish brown but not uniformly. It has some sort of markings on the back which were lighter brown or beige than the rest of the body. I thought it kind of looks like a skull. It was not a huge spider like a wolf spider but I wouldn’t call it small either. The body was bulbous. The basement is not what I would call wet, but it can be damp down there, with laundry facilities and storage nearby the playroom. Any ideas? I hate to spray because I am terrified of introducing those chemicals into my home, especially with the kids, but what are my options if it is a harmful spider like the brown recluse I’ve been reading about.

Dear Michael,
Not to be an alarmist, but it does sound like you might have a Brown Recluse, Loxosceles reclusa. There is plentiful information online, including this
site which provides the following description of the Brown Recluse: “Adult brown recluse spiders are soft-bodied, yellowish-tan to dark brown, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and have long, delicate grayish to dark brown legs covered with short, dark hairs. The leg span is about the size of a half dollar. Distinguishing characteristics are the presence of three pairs of eyes arranged in a semicircle on the forepart of the head and a violin-shaped, dark marking immediately behind the semicircle of eyes with the neck of the violin pointing towards the bulbous abdomen.” Here are a drawing and photo from that site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi,
Great site!
Have a question about black widows. When we lived in the New Orleans area, we saw several spiders that were black and shaped just like a black widow, but had red markings on the top side of the abdomen.
I have not been able to find anything online that resembles them , and thought you might be able to help.
Thanks,
Mary P

Hi Mary,
First, the red hourglass is on the under side of the abdomen. There is a spider known as the False Widow, Steatoda grossa. Both the true and false widows belong to the Comb Footed Spider Family Theridiidae. The False Widow is a beneficial spider, reported to prey on its more poisonous relative. It also eats Sow Bugs. It is a hardier spider than the true Black Widow. We find them in our yard all the time, and will take a photo the next time.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

My five year old is in kindergarten and LOVES spiders. He has quite an impressive collection of toy spiders. He wants to identify them for a science fair. I have managed to find 2/3 of them in online photos and books, but the rest remain a mystery. There is a chance that the remaining ones are not actual representations of any real existing spiders. Is there any chance you’d be willing to give these spiders your best guess or just flat out say that there are no real spiders that look like this. I can lay them on my scanner and send a photo of them. I can completely understand if you don’t offer this type of help.
Thanks!
Jody
Clueless mother to a future arachnologist

Dear Jody,
By all means, do send the image.

Here’s the picture of them.
Thanks SO much! 🙂
Jody

Dear Jody,
These are definitely fantasy spiders, but several appear to be based on actual species.
The green spider in the upper left might be a Green Lynx Spider, Peucetia viridans. The small spider on the upper right seems to resemble a Jumping Spider, Family Salticidae. The yellow spider on the lower right could be a garden spider called the Golden Orb Weaver, Argiope aurantia. The middle spider on the right is most assuredly a Crab Spider, Family Thomisidae. The spider on the lower left seems to resemble a type of Fishing Spider of the genus Dolomedes. The remaining two spiders, the red and purple, resemble nothing I can call to mind. Here are the five spiders I have mentioned:

Thank you so much for your time and help!
He’ll love the photos you sent too.
He helped me search through a ton of webpages looking for pictures of
"his spiders" and we also looked through about 10 books from the library.
He just loves spiders.
Jody

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I have a juvenile Southern Black Widow in a jar at my house. She’s very small and has striped legs, a red stripe down the topside of her abdomen and of course, the tell tale hourglass on the underside of her abdomen. I’ve had her now for approximately 3 weeks. I would very much like to keep her but since I have a 10 year old daughter I cannot just let her roam about freely. I don’t want to put her outside because I live in Oklahoma and the temperature is decreasing daily. The jar that I have her in is a gallon glass jar with a metal lid. We’ve poked holes in the lid so she can breathe and put dirt, rocks, leaves and plenty of sticks in the jar. She seems to be content because she has spun a very nice web in there. We’ve fed her a variety of things including flies, little bees and other spiders. She liked all of those just fine but now that the weather is turning much colder it is getting harder to find suitable bugs for her. So, I went to the pet store and bought her some crickets. There is only one problem, the crickets are much bigger than she is and she won’t eat them! Last night she was hanging upside down in her web as she always does and one of the crickets walked right up to her (via a stick) and she retreated. The cricket then stomped all over her web and went back to the bottom of the jar. I have a few questions concerning this amazing spider of mine.
First of all, will she eat the cricket if she’s hungry or is he just too big for her?
Will the cricket eat her?
How often do Black Widows need to eat?
Does she need a fresh supply of water or does she get this from her prey?
If she does need a fresh supply of water, how much?
When will she molt?
When she does, how long afterwards should I wait to feed her again?
I very much adore this spider and want her to live through the winter. Please let me know what I can do to keep this truly wonderful creature alive and well. Thank you!
Misty McClain

Dear Misty,
Thank you for your sensitive letter. I will try to answer all your questions. First, while it is possible for your juvenile spider to feed off of the crickets, the size differential might be a problem. Find out from your pet store what their source of crickets is. You might be able to contact the breeder and get juvenile crickets. Another solution which might be fun for your daughter as well is to raise Drosophila, fruit flies, which can be obtained from a biological supply house for schools, or you can just try to attract the flies to an overripe banana in your kitchen. The fruit flies are very easy to raise as any home maker who has forgotten to remove fruit from the kitchen or fogotten to take the garbage to the compost pile. I always have some fruit flies swarming in my kitchen. Crickets are omniverous, and they might try to eat your spider. Not to be evasive, but your spider will eat when hungry. In the wild, they do not eat daily, but rather when they catch prey. Sometimes this happens several times a day, and at other times it might be weeks between meals. The spiders are resilient. Black Widows are fond of damp dark places but they will not drink water. They get their water from the life giving juices sucked out of their prey. She will molt when she has outgrown her current skin. This happens several times over the course of her life. At her final moult she will achieve the glossy black color that typifies her species. it is also possible that you have a male spider which is colored similarly to the juvenile. I hope this answers your questions, and good luck.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note: October 5, 2010
This past weekend, we really wanted to link to this old posting, but alas, we could not locate it.  Our webmaster tracked it down and it seemed it did not make our major website migration just over two years ago.  We suspect this is not the only missing gem, but the perk that comes from resposting it is that the photo can be greatly enlarged with our new technology.

Banana Spider!
(11/10/2003) Unidentified Spider from Puerto Rico
Hi Bugman,
While staying in Puerto Rico two summers ago, my boyfriend caught this freeloader living in his apartment without paying rent. Do you know what kind it is?
Thanks,
Jennifer & Donny

Banana Spider

Dear Jennifer and Donny,
First let me say yours is one of the most beautiful photos we have ever received. Thank you for sending the image of a male Heteropoda venatoria, also called a Banana Spider. The female is a more robust spider with shorter legs. This is the spider that is responsible for the rumors that tarantulas come into the U.S. with bananas because they are often spotted emerging frrom a bunch of bananas in a fruit store in the North. This Giant Crab Spider is usually the culprit. The species is found in all tropical regions, its range extending clear around the world. It is very abundant in all tropical seaport towns, being transported in trading vessels. Its chief food is cockroaches. The female carries her eggs beneath her body. According to this site it is also called the Huntsman Spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination