Currently viewing the category: "Spiders"
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

(9/12/2003)
We usually have lots of neat spiders here in South Texas, but this beautiful visitor amazed us. Never before seen on our house. Note that the trim boards are 1 by 2 inches so she is quite sizable but not as large as the Golden Orb spiders we have in abundance. We are thinking she is a “fishing spider” of some sort but the house is a half mile from the cattle ponds. What do you think she is?
Thanks!!
JD

White Banded Fishing Spider

Wow, JD,
That is one handsome spider. I think you are correct that it is a type of fishing spider, probably Dolomedes albineus or tenebrosus.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

(11/3/2003)Unidentified spider
I found this spider wandering yesterday in the leaf litter in Great Falls, Maryland, about 10 miles north of Washington, DC.  It’s “dome” was about the diameter of a dime or a penny.  I’ve never seen anything like it before and my Internet search came up empty.  I’d really like to know what it is.  Thanks!
Jerry Singer

Update to orange spider question
Upon further Net research, I found a picture of the spider I sent to you at the bottom of this page. It was identified as Araneus sp.  I also found a very similar spider identified as araneus quadratus at this site. Neither site provides much info, so I would appreciate any more that you could provide.  Thanks!
Jerry

Marbled Orbweaver

Dear Jerry,
Your photo is beautiful, much nicer than the Araneus sp. image on the website you cited. Here is what I can tell you about the genus. It is a large one with approximately fifty species identified. They are orb web weavers and most species exhibit considerable variability regarding coloration and markings. If I were to venture a guess as to your species, I would say Aranea gigas conspicellata. There is an image on this site: which looks just like yours. It is an extremely variable species in size, color and markings. The full-grown female, which you photographed, measures about 3/4 inch excempting the legs. The web is a complete orb and is often a foot or more in diameter. It is nearly vertical and is usually built in shrubs or among the low branches of trees. The retreat is usually above the orb and is frequently made in a curled leaf or in a bunch of leaves. In the Northern States the spiders reach maturity in August. The egg sacs are made early in the autumn.

Ed. Note: We now believe this to be a Marbled Orb Weaver, Araneus marmoreus. It is a shy spider which hides in a retreat, only emerging when prey has been snagged in its web.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Saw this bug crawling around on the front of our house and front stoop. It has 8 red legs and looks like it has three segments. Is this a spider? I’d hate to find this crawling around on my bed one night. Should we be concerned about this bug? We live on the east coast.
Bruce

Dear Bruce,
It’s a spider. I’m not sure exactly what, but it is impressive. I will
continue to try to identify it. How large was it? Where on the east coast?

Daniel,
We live in Calvert County, Maryland. The spider was about 3/4″ long. Let me
know what you find out. This is a scary looking spider for sure!
Bruce

Dear Bruce,
I have been obsessed with your spider.After hours online, I found it. It is one of three spiders on the endangered species list in Maryland, and is also endangered in most of its range. It seems to be most common in Alabama, though fire ants and armadillos have harmed its numbers there as well. I hope your red legged purseweb spider is still among the living. Here is some additional information I copied from a site. Thank you for your awesome photo. Sphodros rufipes Found in Alabama The First Recorded Distribution of the Purseweb Spider, Sphodros rufipes (Family Atypidae), from Alabama. Rose M. Parrino, W. Mike Howell,Ph.D., and Ronald L. Jenkins,Ph.D., Department of Biology, Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35229 The spider family Atypidae represents an ancient branch of the infraorder Mygalomorphae. These large, primitive spiders have been recorded for most of the southeastern United States, but no records have been documented for the State of Alabama. It is the purpose of this report to officially record the purseweb spider, Sphodros rufipes Latreille from Alabama. These spiders are referred to as “purseweb spiders” because of the tough, tubular web which they construct in the ground at the base of a tree and extend aerially up the side of the tree attaching it to the tree’s bark. The web is further camouflaged by the addition of lichens, algae, dead leaf bits, dirt and other debris to its surface. When an insect disturbs the web’s surface, the purseweb spider reacts by biting its prey through the tube, cutting a slit, repairing the slit, and awaiting another meal. According to Gertsch and Platnick (1980, Amer. Mus. Novitates No. 2704: 1-39, figs. 1-60), S. rufipes previously has been found at four sites in Tennessee, two in North Carolina, one in Georgia, six in northern Florida, two in Mississippi, four in Louisiana, and one in Texas. A population of Sphodros rufipes was discovered at the Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, Jefferson County, AL, (T 17S, R 2W, sec 13) on 16 Oct. 1997. The aerial portion of the web was approximately 140 mm above the ground and a uniform 20 mm in its width. Only 10-12 mm of the top portion of the tube was attached to tree, and this portion of the tube was white and not camouflaged. When the underground portion of the web, which extended to approximately 160 mm, was excavated and the tubular web was removed, it was found to contain a large female spider, 25 mm in total body length. The web also contained approximately 228 spiderlings, each about 2.5 mm in total body length. All spiderlings, except for 10 specimens, were returned to the site. The 10 spiderlings and the adult female were preserved for scientific documentation and deposited in the American Museum of Natural History. The adult specimen was examined by Dr. Norman Platnick, who verified it as S. rufipes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination