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

It’s Katey, from class last summer. (Remember me? I’ve seen almost all the movies?) Anyway, I just moved to Highland Park and I’m finding black widows everywhere. Here are two pictures I took, they aren’t very good but I have a phobia of spiders and that’s the best I could do without passing out. They hang upside down in their web, very creepy. I’m positive they are black widows because I sprayed them (a lot!) and eventually they bellied up and I saw the hour glass. I tried to get a picture of that but my camera isn’t good enough (and I was still scared to get close).
See you at Art Center, have a nice break.
Katey Bright

Hi Katey,
Glad you are well. You can recognize Black Widows by their unique silhouette, which is evident in your photos. I let the Black Widows live where they want to in my Mt. Washington house. They build webs and stay in the webs. They are very shy, nocturnal and not aggressive. As long as you know where they are living, you can avoid them. Thanks for the photos and I’m glad you are well. Did you change your major?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi – Sorry I don’t have a picture to send, but this all happened far too fast for me to grab a camera. I was setting in a chair on one side of the room very early in the morning, when I noticed something moving near the front door. When I got up to check it out, it turned out to be a spider like I have never seen before. It was a light brown color,with a darker brown abdomen, and almost looked like it had hair growing on it’s abdomen. And it was quite large, about the size of a quarter. The strangest thing about this spider was, when I opened the door to shoo it out, hundreds of baby spiders jumped off of the abdomen and scurried in all directions. They were too small for me to get a good look at and moving far to fast. I was living in So CA at the time, and I have spent at least five or six years trying to find out what this spider was. Can you help out?
Thanks in advance,

Hi Linda,
Female Wolf Spiders, Family Lycosidae, carry their eggs around. When the eggs hatch, the young spiders, called spiderlings, ride around on their mother’s back for a short time. These are hunting spiders which do not build webs. The females are highly maternal. You obviously caught them the minute the apron strings were cut. Congratulations on seeing a wonder of nature that obviously left an impression. Here is an image I downloaded from a Florida website. Wolf Spiders of different species are found worldwide.

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

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.
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.
Clueless mother to a future arachnologist

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

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

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination