Currently viewing the category: "Red Legged Purseweb Spider"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

purseweb spider found july 2008 on Block Island RI
i found this spider on BI while walking my dog about 1 full inch long thought i would pass on the info

Thanks for the info as well as the high resolution image with plenty of surrounding habitat, which we cropped to a tight shot. We enjoy getting reports about this endangered, spectacular spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Red Legged Purseweb spider
Hello Bugman
I found this handsome guy running across my driveway near a flower bed, and near where we keep our trash cans. I kept him in the little jar for about 45 minutes until I found your picture of a dead one. I set him free near a young red maple in our front yard. After I read all that you wrote, I am hoping he makes it across our yard to a native rock retaining way that would be paradise for him. (About 35′ from where I turned him loose. He never showed that he felt threatened, but I wasn’t sure if he was poisonous due to his large fangs, and that usually beautiful creatures that are brightly colored are most often poisonous. I have attached several pictures of him. While in the jar he looked as if he was running, and his little pointy things and the tip of his abdomen were wriggling up and down. I am not sure what that was all about. He was very frisky when I let him go. Also, I have attached a picture of a large spider my excited sons called a "camouflage" spider. He has an unusual squared off and pointy abdomen. After I let him run off, I saw a younger version of him, hanging out by one of our patio tables. I would appreciate any info you could give me about him.
Thank you for your site. I have three young sons that are very excited about God’s Creatures, so I will be referencing your site fairly often.
Evie P. (Franklin, TN)

Hi Evie,
After the last image of a Red Legged Purseweb Spider that ended in Unnecessary Carnage, we are happy to see you have a sensitive enough world view to question before reacting. While you may desire the lovely male Red Legged Purseweb Spider to take up residence on your wall, chances are good he was wandering in search of a mate and that he will probably continue to do so until he finds her or is killed, either by a predator, some chance accident like being run over (luckily he escaped that bigwheel in your driveway), or deliberately by a human. Nice rock!!! Your other photo is too blurry for identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

red legged purseweb spider?
I found this spider on the deck of my pool. After doing some searching on the internet I found the red legged purseweb spider and I think this could be on fof them. Sorry I did kill we have small children around and I didnt know what it was or if was even poisonous. But we found it in French Lick Indiana.

Hi Carly,
Sadly, your identification of the Red Legged Purseweb Spider is correct. This species has met with more than its deserved share of Unnecessary Carnage. While we understand the protective mothering instinct in such matters, if every mother on the planet tried to dispatch everything she thought might compromise the safety of her children, there wouldn’t be much left eventually. Tolerance and understanding can prevent so much bloodshed. We hope you continue to educate yourself and your children to the diversity of life around you. Have a great day.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is this a Red Legged Purse Spider (sphodros rufipes)?
My daughter found this spider in an old cemetary that we visit at Memorial Day time. My daughter was sure she had found some rare spider, and I guess maybe she did. We live in Southwestern Kansas, and I don’t think they are very common here After convincing her that she did not need to keep the spider for a pet, she released it. Before releasing it, she took a picture of it, but it was a little too far away, and the crop turned out a little fuzzy. But looking at other pictures in this category, I believe it is a red legged purse spider. What do you think? . Thank you,

Hi Krista,
Your identification of a Red Legged Purseweb Spider is correct.

(06/02/2008) red legged purseweb spider
Thank you for providing such an excellent identification site for insects and spiders! While putting more native plants into our yard in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, my daughter found this magnificent spider with violet-black body and bright red legs. Everyone in the family came to see it. Even as an astute field biologist myself, I had never seen a spider like this. After some internet searching, I found the ID on your site. You mentioned it as an “endangered” species. Is that a federal listing or state listing? Do you know it’s listing in Missouri? We live in the river hills of the Mississippi river in what once was historically Beech-Tupelo mesophytic forest. We still have a few beech trees and tulip poplar is still common. Is there only one species of this kind (Atypus bicolor) or does the common name refer to several different species? Would you say that the one we have in Southeast Missouri is the endangered species? Any idea about its habitat preferences? I’d like to be able to find it again and take some photographs and video. Thanks again
Steven Juhlin

Hi Scott,
Your letter arrived the same day as a letter with a photo from Krista in Kansas, so we are posting them together. The endangered species status is something we researched back in 2003 when we received the first image of a Red Legged Purseweb Spider submitted to our site. Since then we have received many more. Wikipedia indicates it is a southern species that has been found as far north as Indiana and Missouri, so you are probably among the northernmost sightings, though since Wikipedia cites What’s That Bug? as a source, we may have perpetuated a myth. Wikipedia also indicates it is endangered throughout most of its range due to Fire Ants. Perhaps the spiders are migrating north to escape the warmth loving Fire Ants. The Purseweb Spiders of Kentucky website indicates: “The Red-Legged Purseweb Spider ( Sphodros rufipes , which may occur in Kentucky) has historically appeared on U.S. endangered species lists, but some scientists believe that it may not be a rare spider.” The bottom line is that virtually everything on the planet is endangered right now, but some more than others. We would hazard to guess that the Red Legged Purseweb Spider is more endangered than many.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

red legged purse spider in Texas
Hi There!
My daughter pulled this spider out of our pool last summer. We had never seen anything like it before. I was leaning to relating it to tarantulas and my other daughter was leaning toward trapdoor types. It has taken us months to identify it. Sadly it did not live. Our question if you have time to respond is… Are they still on the endangered species list? We live in The Woodlands Texas just north of Houston. The area is very wooded and much has remained natural.
Denise Dailey

Hi Denise,
To the best of our knowledge, the Red Legged Purseweb Spider, Sphodros rufipes, is still considered endangered. At any rate, despite its fierce appearance, it is harmless and should not be killed. This is truly a gorgeous and unforgettable species. Thanks so much for sending us your photo of the unfortunate drowning tragedy. Male Mygalomorphs, including Tarantulas, Trapdoor Spiders and Purseweb Spiders, often drown in swimming pools. The males are mobile and wander in search of mates, resulting in their demise when they encounter swimming pools.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

red legged purse web spider
I had never seen a spider like this before. While I was taking pictures of it a toad came by and gobbled it up. After looking on your web site, I identified it as a red legged purse web spider. I feel bad that it may be endangered and I let the toad eat it.
Dallas, GA

Hi Lee,
We first want you to know that through the years, you have been one of our most consistant contributors. Even though we cannot post every image you send to us, nor sometimes even answer personally, you continue to send letters our way. This gorgeous Red Legged Purseweb Spider might be our favorite of all the photographs you have sent to us. Please do not apologize for your toad. That is nature, and far better than the unnecessary carnage photos we have received.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination