Subject: Exotic Banana Stowaway or Fear Running Amok
March 26, 2016 6:22 pm
I received a photo from a friend recently looking for some help IDing a spider because I enjoy searching through guides and web photos to try my amateur hand at insect identification. Fun fact: if you browse spiders on your phone on public transit people will move away from you 😉
Anyway, I am at a loss for this guy. My best guess has been something in the Salticidae family, but I cannot see a hint of green at the chelicerae, nor could I find those specific markings. I am frustrated and I must ask for help – hopefully, this is one of the lucky posts that makes it through.
Bit of background. Friend is a produce manager in southern Ontario and had this spider returned from a customer who stated that it had been found in bananas purchased there. Bananas came from Ecuador, but it’s pretty difficult to ascertain where the spider actually came from. Unfortunately, their company policy is to destroy any spiders that are returned in produce – BOO! and I have not seen the spider in person. The size has been stated to be approximately 1cm-1.25cm and she claims that there is no green (or blue, or any other colour) present at the chelicerae. Also, that the manner of walking is similar to a tarantula, but I don’t see the similarity in the hairiness and really think that the body structure is much more similar to a jumper.
Here’s hoping you can help end this frustration
Signature: A frustrated friend
Dear frustrated friend,
Your submission has caused us to lament the day that portable communication devices superseded home computers as the delivery method of choice for readers submitting identification requests to our site. At that time, spelling and grammar took a back seat to garbled and incoherent communication replete with abbreviations and new acronyms. The positive side of folks using cellular telephones is that they virtually all have cameras built in, which allowed more folks to capture images of the bugs they encounter, but verbal communication took several steps back as instant gratification caused terse phrases to replace complete sentences. Thanks so much for your chatty request. This is indeed a Jumping Spider in the family Salticidae, but we are not certain of the species. Not all Jumping Spiders have metallic chelicerae. The distinctive spinnerets at the end of the abdomen should make identification a bit easier, but our initial attempts have not provided a good species match for you. We also want to comment on the produce policy of destroying spiders found on bananas. There is a large Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria, that is now found throughout the world in warmer cities where bananas were shipped. Many years ago, there were numerous stories of Tarantulas emerging from shipped bananas, and most of those Tarantulas were likely Huntsman Spiders. The Huntsman Spiders, or Banana Spiders, are harmless, and they are actually quite beneficial in tropical countries where they hunt at night, feeding on Cockroaches.
Thank you Daniel. I really appreciate the confirmation.
It seems as though there may be some ramifications for my friend as a result of me adding the location in and I wonder if it’s possible if the town name could be removed?
I had asked if I could send it to your site and was granted permission for that (as it was her photo), but she was later warned about the potential for losing her job as a result of negative attention to the store and I was not informed until I sent your response. It’s a very small town with a single grocery store and I would hate for my friend to lose her job because she and I were trying to ID a spider.
My apologies for being a pain.