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A spider recently put up a web in my room in coastal Virginia, USA (on the left in the photo).
Rounder/taller body than most species I've seen. Dark brown, not quite solid-color coloration. If laying flat, it looks like its body would be about the size of an American dime. Tends to hang with its underbelly pointed upwards, and the times I've watched it feed it has never attempted to wrap prey in silk -- instead, it immediately eats and discards them.
My best guess from what I was able to find online was Araneus diadematus, but the coloration on all the examples of that species I can find seems much more varied than what I'm seeing, and I'm not particularly well-versed in spider identification, so I'm not sure.
The spider on the right was new this morning, I'm less curious about it and presume it was just a male of the same species.
These are very likely one of the common spiders that gets called House Spider, but this variety is one of the comb-footed spiders; the Theridiidae. They're sometimes also called Tangleweb Spiders or something along those lines. They make those messy webs, and hang upside down just as you show. You can tell these guys aren't Araneus or one of the other Araneid orbweavers, because they're not hanging vertically in an orbweb. This particular spider is probably the very variable and common Parasteatoda tepidariorum, and the smaller one is, as you guessed, a male. They will share the web for a day or so until he mates and moves on. You should be aware that the related Black Widow has this same general body shape and habit, and may be stripy and have banded legs like you see in the photo when the females are young. I suspect that was why TFE was asking for better photos - although you probably would have noted the red hourglass before if that was the case. I'm inclined to go with P. tepidariorum, for two reasons: Latrodectus generally (but not always) are sensitive to disturbance, where the common House Spiders don't seem to mind, and the abdomen of the female seems to be a little more randomly patterned (as best we can see) than I would expect for a Latrodectus. Here's a photo of P. tepidariorum with a snack:
Tradescantia virginiana Virginia Spiderwort is a herbaceous clump-forming perennial in the dayflower family that is native to the eastern and central USA and is found in the Piedmont of NC. The plants spread by underground stolons forming clumps and grow 2-3 feet tall by 1 foot wide. It can be found in moist prairies, fertile woodlands, open woods, meadows, hillsides, stony bluffs, stream banks, and along roadsides. In spring the 3-petaled flowers appear and last for a day but new ones are produced daily in terminal clusters. Flower colors range from blue to purple to pink. Once they have finished blooming cut back the stems. The foliage may die back in the heat of the summer but returns in late summer to fall and often reblooms. Virginia Spiderwort prefers moist to wet fertile sites but adapts to average garden soils in sun to shade. Provide additional water during dry periods. Use in a naturalized or woodland area, along a stream or pond, in a rain garden or the border of a native/pollinator garden. Flowers DM CC BY-ND 4.0 Flowers Magnus Manske CC BY-SA 3.0 Leaves GFDL CC BY-SA 3.0 Form Vahe-Matirosyan- CC BY 4.0 Christine and John Fournier CC BY-NC 4.0 Flower buds Random Michelle CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Flower Susan Strine CC BY 2.0 Flowers in spring/summer in Moore County Susan Strine CC BY 2.0 flower close-up, spring, Haywood County, NC Patty Felder CC BY 4.0 blooms, late spring, Iredell County, NC Eva Munday CC BY-NC 4.0 Identifying a spider from coastal Virginia - Biology
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Spiders (order Araneae, class Arachnida, subphylum Chelicerata, phylum Arthropoda, superphylum Protostomia, subkingdom Metazoa, kingdom Animalia, domain Eukarya)
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This guide covers mainly spiders of the eastern U.S. and Canada. Exceptions are the arctic spiders that arachnologist Roy Erling Wrånes photographed in Finnmark County in far northern Norway he has given me permission to use these photos on the website, but he owns the copyrights. They are grouped by their families with the other spiders.
All spiders are venomous, but in the U.S. and Canada, only the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow are known to do serious harm to humans via their venom. The Brown Recluse, also called the "violin spider" because of a charactertistic dark marking on its cephalothorax, is often found indoors in old houses not protected by pest control and is most common in the south central part of the U.S. Black Widows are generally found outside. The tarantulas of the Southwestern U.S. sometimes bite in self-defense and can toss spine-like hairs at their attackers. The North American Funnel Web Spiders (members of the Agelenidae family) should not be confused with the highly venomous Sydney (Australia) Funnel Web Spiders (Atrax robustus), which are members of another suborder altogether (the Mygalomorphae).
Spiders have a cephalothorax (literally "head-neck") and an abdomen, unlike insects, which have distinct divisions between the head, thorax and abdomen. Also, unlike insects, spiders have eight legs and chelicerae and lack antennae and wings (which some insects do lack). They also have spinnerets on their abdomens. Most have eight eyes, although some have fewer spider eye arrangements can be key to distinguish spider families and sometimes genera, as shown by Lynette Elliott's Spider Eye Arrangement Page on BugGuide. Lynette generalized these patterns from spider photos on that site. Links to the applicable family eye arrangement information are shown below with the photos shown for each spider family. I have included this because it is the clearest attempt to demonstrate one of the rules by which spiders are classified.
Spiders have some natural insect enemies. One of the most unusual of them is an insect: the so-called thread-legged bug of the Stenolema genus. These bugs wiggle constantly, and when they contact a spider web, the spider mistakes them for prey.
However, other spiders can inflict painful nips under some circumstances. I once was surprised in Florida by a large wolf spider that had crawled into my shoe when I put it on it left two small, relatively deep indendations in my callused big toe.
There is one endangered North Carolina spider species, i.e., the Spruce Fir Moss Spider. As the name implies, the spider's natural habitat is found in the Southern Appalachians, among these northern conifers, at elevations above
John and Jane Balaban provided many identifications (not all specified below), especially of crab spiders, on their own initiative, which we checked out. We accept responsibility for the correctness of these IDs.
Purseweb Spiders ( Atypidae family, Mygalomorphae suborder)
Mygalomorphs are generally large spiders though they seem to be the species most likely to inspire arachnophobia, the bites of all of the US species are harmless to humans. "True tarantulas" (family Theraphosidae) are members of this suborder, while the spiders in this family are also called "atypical tarantulas" as well as "purseweb spiders." There are two genera in the US: Atypus and Sphodros.
|Male Purseweb Spider (Sphodros atlanticus) , Eno River State Park, Fews Ford access, top of Cox Mountain, Orange County, North Carolina, 5/27/06 . Family ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban, referring to BugGuide's Purseweb Spider page. Genus, species and sex ID thanks to Jeff Hollenbeck.||Purseweb Spider (Sphodros atlanticus), Durham, NC 5/15/16|
Trapdoor Spiders (Ctenizidae family, Mygalomorphae suborder)
|Trapdoor spider, Hope Mills, NC. Photo taken by Samantha Adkins-Witmill.||Trapdoor spider, Durham, NC, 10/14/14|
Folding-door Spiders ( Antrodiaetidae family, Mygalomorphae suborder)
|Folding-door Spider (Antrodiaetus microunicolor), Yadkinville, Yadkin County, NC, 11/30/10. Photo by Brandon Frye.|
Crevice Weavers (Filistatidae family, Haplogynae suborder, Araneomorphae suborder)
|Southern House Spider (Kukulcania hibernalis) about half an inch long. Oviedo, Seminole County, FL, 7/18/11. Photo by Kurt Amesbury|
Mesh Web Weavers (Dictynidae family, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
|Mesh web weaver (Emblyna genus), Durham, NC, 6/4/21||Mesh web weaver, Durham, NC, 4/21/20||Mesh web weaver? Durham, NC, 5/31/16||Mesh web weaver. Family ID thanks to Chad Heins. Maybe Dictyna calcarata.||Mesh web weaver, Durham, NC, 5/23/20||Probably another mesh web weaver, Durham, NC, 5/23/20|
Pirate Spiders (Mimetidae family, Mimetoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
These spiders are predators of other spiders.
|Pirate spider (Mimetus puritanus), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 7/23/13. ID thanks to Laura P.|
Sac Spiders (Clubionidae family, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder )
|Sac spider, Durham, NC, 7/28/14|
Common Orb Weavers (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Araneus Genus Eye Arrangement (Elliott): This seems very similar to the eye arrangements of other Araneidae family members to me. However, to see close-up photos of eye arrangements of the Araneidae family, go halfways down the page of Spider Eye Arrangements (Elliott).
Spinning mainly vertical flat, spiral-patterned webs ("orbs") is characteristic of most these spiders, but it is not the most important taxonomically. Arachnologists consider anatomical structure and behavior to be more important than web characteristics, as exemplified by Willey and Johnson (1992) .
Spin ed Orb Weavers (Micrathena genus, Araneidae family, Araneoidea, Orbiculariae, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae)
These orb weavers have traditionally been considered to be in this family, and I'm betting it will be official in the final classification scheme. But their genus seems not to have come up for consideration yet.
These spiders, commonly known as Spined Micrathenas, have eight black spines on a mostly white abdomen.
|Spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis), Durham, 7/28/05. This spider had spun a web across a walking path in my neighborhood that was high enough not to be disturbed by people.||Spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis), Riverbend Park, Catawba County, 9/24/09||Male Spined Micrathena (Micrathena gracilis), Third Fork Creek Trail, Curham, NC, 7/4/12. ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban .|
These spiders have just two spines on their abdomens. ID based on remarks about this species near the bottom of the Micrathena Gracilis page of the University of Arkansas' Arthropod Museum Notes .
|Micrathena mitrata, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 9/7/07.||Chatham County, NC, 11/9/05. This one was about ¼ inch long.||Orb weaver (Micrathena mitrata), Durham, NC, 10/3/13||Micrathena mitrata, ventral view. Riverbend Park, Catawba County, NC, 9/24/09|
Arrow-shaped Micrathenas (Micrathena sagittata)
|Arrow-shaped Micrathena, Durham, NC, 7/5/17||Arrow-shaped Micrathena (Micrathena sagittata), Durham, NC, 9/13/20||Arrow-shaped Micrathena, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/12/08||Arrow-shaped Micrathena, Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, 7/30/05. This spider was in the process of web-spinning.||Another Arrow-shaped Micrathena spider Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, 7/30/05.|
Crablike Spin ed Orb Weavers (Gasteracantha cancriformis, Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
These spiders may look like crabs, but they feel like sandspurs if you have the wrong kind of encounter with them. Perhaps because birds have learned to avoid them, they often feel free to spin their webs across trails.
|Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver (dorsal view), St. Augustine, St. Johns County, FL, 3/12/13||Same Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver (ventral view)||Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver, Cypress Gardens, Berkeley County, South Carolina, 10/12/07. See other spiders .||Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver (dorsal view), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 8/4/09||Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver ( Gasteracantha cancriformis), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 6/23/06||Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver, same spider||Crablike Spiny Orb Weaver, Fort Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06|
Star-bellied Orb Weavers (Acanthepeira stellata, Araneidae family, Araneoidea, superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae)
|Star-bellied Orb Weaver (mostly ventral view), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham, NC, 8/23/09.||Star-bellied spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/28/05. This one reminds of part of a cuckoo clock my mother once had!||Star-bellied spider, Indian Creek Trail, a Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC, 7/7/06: ventral view on left, dorsal on right.|
Triangulate Orb Weavers (Verrucosa arenata, Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
|Triangulate Orb Weaver, Durham, NC, 8/24/15||Triangulate Orb Weaver, Little River Park, Orange County, NC, 10/20/07||Triangulate Orb Weaver , Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/18/05.||Triangulate Orb Weaver , White Pines Nature Preserve, Chatham County, NC, 9/25/05.|
Araneus genus members, Araneidae family, Araneoidea, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder
Araneus and Neoscona are very similar genera, and many of these photos were not taken at an angle that reveals the one tiny difference (the posterior dorsal longitudinal groove), as described at American Museum of Natural History's Orb Weaver Page . So many of these are guesses.
Marbled Orb Weavers (Araneus marmoreus)
These pictures illustrate the variation in abdominal patterns occuring among members of this species.
|Marbled Orb Weaver ( Araneus marmoreus), Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 9/27/07||Marbled Orb Weaver, Eno River State Park, Orange County, NC, 10/9/06.||Marbled Orb Weaver?, Nova Scotia, Canada, 10/18/07. Photo taken by Nancy Crowell. ID is uncertain, since Nova Scotia may have some spider species unique to the area.||Marbled Orb Weaver, Sybertsville, PA, 9/26/08. Photo by Ted Reinmiller.||Marbled Orb Weaver (Araneus marmoreus), Durham, NC, 9/27/05.||Marbled Orb Weaver ( Araneus marmoreus) , ventral view, Eno River State Park, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 9/16/05||Unusual Marbled Orb Weaver. Photo taken by Steve Harkins, Waxhaw, Union County, NC, 12/25/08. Not positive of ID.|
Cross Spider (Araneus diadematus)
|Cross Spider, Ludlow, Massachusetts, 10/31/07. Photo taken by Mark Moran.|
|Araneus bicentenarius, Great Smoky Mountains. Photo taken by "Vicki." A very big spider.|
|Orb weaver, Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 1/19/13||Orb weaver, Durham, NC, 10/22/13. Immature female.||Orb weaver (male Araneus miniatus), Durham, NC, 2/3/13||Orb weaver (male Araneus miniatus), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 1/19/13||Orb weaver (male Araneus miniatus), Durham, NC, 1/18/18|
|Araneus guttulatus, Durham, NC, 6/14/08. A very tiny spider, about 2 mm long.|
A tiny and very varied species: see BugGuide's collection:
|Araneus cingulatus, Louisville, Kentucky, 9/24/10. Photo taken by John Nation.|
|Araneus alboventris, Durham, NC, 7/4/13||Araneus alboventris, Durham, NC, 10/2/09. Has lost two legs.||Araneus alboventris, Holly Springs, NC, 10/25/10. Photo by Jason W.|
|Araneus bivittatus, Durham, NC, 8/21/13|
Araniella genus (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae )
|Orb weaver (Araniella displicata), Durham, NC, 2/1/14. ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban ||Orb weaver (Araniella displicata), Durham, NC, 2/3/21|
Neoscona genus (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Hentz Orb Weaver (Neoscona crucifera)
|Hentz Orb Weaver attacking a leaf that had fallen in its web. Durham, NC, 10/17/12||Hentz Orb Weaver , dorsal view, Durham, 9/28/08||Orb weaver, Durham, NC, 8/14/07.||Hentz Orb Weaver , ventral view, Durham, 9/28/08|
Spotted Orb Weaver (Neoscona domiciliorum)
|Orb weaver, Pettigrew State Park, Washington County, NC, 11/11/10. Dorsal view.||Orb weaver, ventral view, White Pines Natural Area, Chatham County, 9/25/05. Maybe another male.||Orb weaver, Johnston's Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 8/25/05. Dorsal view.||Orb weaver, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/9/09||Orb weaver, side view, Durham, NC, 8/30/06|
Arabesque Orb Weaver (Neoscona arabesca)
|Arabesque Orb Weaver, Durham, NC, 10/19/20||Orb weaver, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 6/15/07||Orb weaver, Pettigrew State Park, Washington County, NC, 11/11/10||Orb weaver, Durham, 7/6/05||Orb weaver, Durham, NC, 5/29/08||Arabesque Orb Weaver||Same Arabesque Orb Weaver, Durham, NC, 7/28/20|
Argiope genus ( Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder )
Argiopes are standard orb weavers in that their webs are round and flat.
White-backed Garden Spider or Banded Argiope (Argiope trifasciata)
|White-backed Garden Spider, Durham, 9/27/05. Also very well-fed. Was hanging out next to a large lantana patch visited by many insects.||White- backed Garden Spider, Penny's Bend, Durham County, NC, 10/15/05, ventral view||White-backed Garden Spider. Dorsal view of the same spider. Definitely well-fed!||White-backed Garden Spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/17/07 Dorsal view.||White-backed Garden Spider, ventral view of the same spider.|
Yellow-and-black Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia)
These are some of the biggest spiders in eastern North America not including their legs, they can reach one inch in length. As a result, they are also the most familiar outdoor spiders, though far from the most common.
|Yellow-and-Black Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia). Small spider on top left was a member of another species. Durham, NC, 8/13/18.||Closeup of female Yellow-and-black Garden Spider, Harnett County, NC, 8/10/04 .||Yellow-and-black Garden Spider , Durham, NC, 10/10/09, with prey.||Yellow-and-Black Garden Spider, Fayetteville, NC, 8/25/06. Taken by Adolph Thomas. Copyright © 2006 Adolph Thomas.||Yellow-and-black Garden Spider, Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC 10/1/06|
|Male Yellow-and-black Garden Spider, 9/2/04.||Male Yellow-and-black Garden Spider, Indian Creek Trail, Chatham County, 8/2/05.||Immature female Yellow and Black Argiope, Durham, NC, 6/30/08.||Immature |
Yellow-and-black Garden Spider, Fort Fisher, New Hanover County, NC, 6/22/06.
|Immature Yellow-and-black Garden Spider, Holly Springs, NC, 10/25/10. Photo by Jason W.||Male Argiope genus (most likely aurantius) spider, given the species seen in this area. Durham, NC, 8/30/13. Genus ID thanks to Lynette Elliott.|
Mangora genus (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder )
|Mangora placida, dorsal view. Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 3/30/07||Mangora placida, dorsal view. Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 3/31/07||Mangora placida, ventral view. Eno River State Park, Orange County, NC, 7/27/07|
|Orb weaver (Mangora gibberosa), Durham, NC, 9/6/12||Orb weaver (Mangora gibberosa), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/3/15|
|Mangora acalypha, Finnmark County, Norway, 2010. On the red list. Photo by Roy Erling Wr ånes.|
Acacesia hamata (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
|Acacesia hamata, Durham, 7/18/05. ID provided by John and Jane Balaban .||Acacesia hamata, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 9/7/07. This was a very tiny spider, a few mm long. Its placement on the brown spot of this leaf camouflaged it effectively.|
Heptagonal Orb Weaver (Gea heptagon), Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
|Female Heptagonal Orb Weaver (Gea heptagon), Durham, NC, 1/4/20||Female Heptagonal Orb Weaver (Gea heptagon), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 11/14/10||Male Heptagonal Orb Weaver (Gea heptagon), Durham, NC, 8/21/06|
Basilica Spiders (Mecynogea lemniscata, Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder )
In contrast with the flat webs of the orchard spiders, the webs of most of these spiders fill a three-dimensional space and no two threads seem to be in the same plane. They often are found in groups in contiguous webs. Maybe they get their common name from this web structure. They do not weave orb-shaped webs Willey, Johnson and Adler say that although some have argued that they should be assigned to the Linyphiidae family on the basis of similarity of web construction giving greater weight to anatomical structure and behavior as critera led to their Araneidae classification. This illustrates another problem with common names: orb-weaving is not a universal Araneidae trait.
The two pictures on the left (second row) suggest an aborted courtship (Durham, 7/20/05). It took place within one of a group of complex webs with elaborate three-dimensional structures. All webs were apparently spun by spiders of the same species, which had the abdominal patterns pictured in the two photos on the right.
|Female Basilica spider, Durham, NC, 7/6/09. Note the distinguishing green stripe on the side of the abdomen.||Female Basilica Spider, Durham, NC, 10/18/12||Female Basilica Spider, Durham, NC, 7/12/12||Basilica Spider, view of the bottom part of the abdomen, Durham, NC, 7/20/05. It mimics an open mouth with tongue and fangs.||Basilica spider egg sacs. Durham, 7/31/05. With egg sacs.|
|Male Basilica Spider, Durham, NC, 7/6/15. Seen on a trail bollard.||Male Basilica Spider, Durham, NC, 7/1/08. The dominant color on the side of the abdomen is yellow.||Male Basilica Spider, Durham, 6/30/05, wrapping up its prey.||Basilica Spiders: female on the left, male on the right. Durham, NC, 6/30/05||Same Basilica Spiders interacting. The female let the male touch her with two feet for a second or two, then they quickly separated.|
Cyclosa turbinata (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder )
|Cyclosa turbinata, Durham, NC, 3/18/16|
Larinoides cornutus (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder )
|Larinoides cornutus, Finnmark County, Norway, 1/30/11. Photo by Roy Erling Wr ånes.|
Unidentified orb weavers ( Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder )
|Another orb weaver, upstaged by its dew-adorned web at the very beginning of the day.|
Golden Silk Spiders and Allies (Nephilinae subfamily, Nephilidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Golden Silk Spiders (Nephila clavipes)
|Female Golden Silk Spider, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 9/16/07.||Same female Golden Silk Spider (lateral view)||Same female Golden Silk Spider (dorsal view)|
|Golden Silk Spider couple (big one is female), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 8/4/09||Male Golden Silk Spider, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 8/4/09||Juvenile Golden Silk Spider (Nevila clavipes), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 6/23/07. At first I thought it was an Argiope, but the pattern was completely different.||Juvenile Golden Silk Spider, Theodore Roosevelt State Natural Area Nature Trail, Pine Knoll Shores, Carteret County, NC 7/23/08||Juvenile Golden Silk Spider, Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 6/24/08. The variant pattern is puzzling.|
Long-jawed Orb Weavers (Tetragnathidae family, derived araneoids, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Long-jawed Orb Weavers (Tetragnatha genus)
These spiders are so named because of their unusually large chelicerae , ending in fangs, which contain venom-producing glands ending in hollow spikes through which they deliver their venom.
|Long-jawed orb weaver (Tetragnatha extensa), |
Durham, NC, 8/21/09
|Long-jawed orb weaver (Tetragnatha extensa), Durham, NC, 2/7/20||Long-jawed orb weaver, Durham, NC, 6/13/05.||This same Long-jawed orb weaver sought cover on a form of swamp grass, using impressive camouflage.|
|Long-jawed orb weaver (Tetragnatha extensa), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 5/17/13||Long-jawed orb weaver, Jordan Lake Gameland, Chatham County, NC, 6/19/07||Long-jawed orb weaver, Durham, NC, 4/28/06||Long-jawed orb weaver (Tetragnatha versicolor), Durham, NC, 6/9/11|
|Long-jawed orb weaver (Tetragnatha viridis), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 11/19/12||Long-jawed orb weaver, Durham, NC, 8/18/20|
|Long-jawed orb weaver spider (Glenognatha foxi), Durham, NC, 3/26/20. ID thanks to John Rosenfeld.|
|Pachygnatha degeeri, Finnmark County, Arctic Norway, 1/30/11. Photo by Roy Erling Wr ånes.||A thick-jawed orb weaver (Pachygnatha brevis), Durham, NC, 4/8/14. ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban.||Same spider, but a frontal view. Durham, NC, 12/17/13|
Orchard Orbweaver s (Leucage genus )
Orchard spiders spin orb-shaped webs much of the time, but they can settle on trail bollards, where they spin webs on the sides of these structures.
|Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 3/26/20||Orchard Spider, private garden near Asheville, Buncombe County, NC, 5/1/14||Orchard Spider, North Carolina Botanical Garden nature trail, Orange County, NC, 5/6/19||Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 5/6/20||Orchard Spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/11/12||Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 5/27/09|
|Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 7/8/18||Orchard Spider with prey, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 7/18/13||Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 8/29/13||Orchard Spider, perhaps pregnant female, Durham, NC, 9/9/16||Another Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 9/9/16||Orchard Spider, River Park North, Greenville, Pitt County, NC, 9/26/13||Orchard Spider , Santee National Wildlife Refuge (Bluff Unit), Claredon County, SC, 4/29/11|
|Male Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 6/21/15.||Male Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 6/7/15||Male Orchard Spider (dorsal), Durham, NC, 6/13/14||Orchard Spider (dorsal view), Santee National Wildlife Refuge (Bluff Unit), Claredon County, SC, 4/29/11||Female Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 4/2/20||Female Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 9/19/12 (Dorsal view).||Female Orchard Spider, Durham, 6/17/05. Dorsal view.||Juvenile Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 1/23/13. ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban.||Juvenile orchard spider (Leucage venusta), Durham, NC, 1/17/21.|
|Orchard Spider, Marie G. Selby Botanical Garden, 2/28/18||Orchard Spider, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 9/17/07||Orchard Spider, Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC, 10/11/07.||Orchard Spider, Audubon Swamp, Charleston County, SC 10/11/07||Orchard Spider, Buccaneer State Park, Waveland, Hancock County, MS, 10/13/17||Orchard Spider, Goose Creek State Park, Beaufort County, NC, 9/20/08. Dorsal view.|
|Orchard Spider, Shipley Trail at Bailey Homestead, Fort Myers, Lee County, FL, 2/22/19||Orchard Spider, South Lido County Park, Sarasota County, FL, 2/27/18|
Comb-footed or Cobweb Spiders (Theridiidae family, Theridioidea, Araneoid sheetweb weavers, Reduced pyriform clade, Derived Araneoids, Araneoidea superfamily, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
These spiders spin cobwebs, which humans detest and songbirds love to use for nesting material. These webs are small and compact, eventually becoming frayed and indistinct, and probably not especially effective in catching flying insects. But they frequently catch insects crawling up the sides of houses.
American House Spiders (Achaearanea tepidariorum)
|American House Spider attacking a Marbled Orb Weaver, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, 7/15/06||American House Spider with egg sac. Durham, 7/22/05||American House Spider , Durham, NC, 8/10/07||American House Spider with egg sac. Durham, 6/14/05. One of the larger spiders I've seen.||American House Spider with prey, Durham, NC, 7/6/05|
|Cobweb spider (Euryopis genus), Durham, NC, 7/5/17||Cobweb spider (Euryopis funebris), Durham, NC, 11/22/20|
|Comb-footed spider (Yunohamella lyrica), Durham, NC, 2/6/19. ID thanks to Chad Heins, confirmed by Laura P.|
Dewdrop spiders (Argyrodes genus)
|Dewdrop spider (Argyrodes elevatus) with orb weaver prey. Durham, NC, 8/27/13||Same dewdrop spider (Argyrodes elevatus) attacking orb weaver prey||Another Dewdrop Spider (Argyrodes genus), Durham, NC, 11/23/13|
|Cobweb spider (Theridion genus), Durham, NC, 6/1/20||Theridion pictipes, Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 5/17/13||Theridion pictipes, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 5/31/07. ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban.||Theridion murarium, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 7/26/13|
|Asagena americana, Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes County, NC, 5/22/08|
Widow Spiders (Latrodectus genus members) use a neurotoxic venom. They are outdoor spiders some are reclusive, while others appear out in the open. It is unusual to see a male they are much smaller and very different in appearance. These spiders are venomous at every age. It is best to be observant.
Southern Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans)
The characteristic marking is a red hourglass (really two opposing triangles fused) on the ventral side of the abdomen. There are no red markings on the dorsal side.
|Adult female Southern Black Widow?, Zebulon, NC. Photo taken by and provided by Cindy Privette. Species ID uncertain because the red hourglass figure is partially obstructed.|
Northern Black Widow (Latrodectus variolus)
The characteristic marking is a divided red hourglass figure on the ventral side of the abdomen. The dorsal side typically has three or more red spots.
|Adult male (note the larger pedipalps) Northern Black Widow Spider (Latrodectus mactans) , Durham, NC, 5/27/09. This spider is also shown in the picture on the right.||Male and female Northern Black Widow Spiders, Durham, NC, 5/29/09. The female was much more reclusive and had made a rare trip outside this dark hiding place. The other disappeared after a couple of days.||Adult female Northern Black Widow, Durham, NC, 7/22/09. Note dorsal red spots on abdomen. You can also see how the web is becoming frayed, filling a particular small space.|
Immature black widows
Stripes characterize immature black widows that are past the spiderling stage.
|Black widow spiderling, one of a large group near a rock crevice on a power line cut in Durham, NC, 10/15/08. Might be a Southern Black Widow, but not sure. It matches this BugGuide picture of Missouri spiderlings.||Immature Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus), Tulare, CA, 10/20/10. Photo by Rebecca Mustin. Another example, from Texas by Joe Lapp.||Immature black widow, which was attacking a large fly, Eno River State Park, Orange County, NC, 4/24/10|
Brown Widows (Latrodectus geometricus)
|Brown Widow, Lakeland, FL, 11/28/10. Copyright © 2010 Noella T. Martell Segura.|
False Black Widow (Steatoda grossa)
|False Black Widow , dangerous despite what its name suggests. Durham, NC, 12/30/05.|
|Steatoda bipunctata, Finnmark County, Norway, 1/30/11. Photo by Roy Erling Wr ånes.|
Cribellate Orb Weavers (Uloboridae family, Entelegyne, Araneomorphae suborder)
Uloborus genus (Uloboridae family, Entelegyne, Araneomorphae suborder)
|Feather-legged Orb Weaver (Uloborus glomosus), Durham, NC, 8/7/20||Uloborus glomosus, Durham, NC, 6/16/12|
Sicariidae family (Haplogynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Brown Recluse (Loxosceles genus, Sicariidae family, Haplogynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
This is a very poisonous spider, arguably the most dangerous spider in the U.S.
There are six brown recluse species in the USA Loxosceles reclusa is the most widespread, with the center of its range in Arkansas. The others are found in Mexico and near its border with the USA.
|Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa), Rogers, Arkansas, 11/28/10. Photo taken by Todd Nida.|
Sheet Web Weaver and Dwarf Spiders (Linyphiidae Family, Linyphioids, Araneoid sheetweb weavers, Reduced pyriform clade, Derived araneoids, Araneoidea, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
All photos in the first row were taken of members of the species Florinda coccinea, subfamily Linyphiinae member, according to Wikipedia's Blacktailed Red Sheetweaver page and Samford University's Florinda coccinea page . Levi and Levi (2002) describe this species as yellow-colored (rather puzzling) and most commonly found in the southeastern US.
This spider family has the most species, although its members are very tiny and probably overlooked altogether by most people. The two shown below are apparently the most common in Piedmont North Carolina.
Black-tailed Red Sheetweavers (Florinda coccinea)
These spiders usually spin their webs, in the form of horizontal sheets, near the ground in grasses.
|Male Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver, Durham, NC, 8/11/16||Female Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver, Durham, NC, 10/3/16||Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver, Durham, NC, 7/16/05, local swamp. Possibly the same species as at left, but maybe not as well-fed.||Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 9/30/06. This picture was taken on a cool morning when the dew was still on its web.|
Bowl-and-doily Spiders (Frontinella communis)
These spiders have typically showed up in the branches of small trees. Their webs have two parts, one that is bowl-shaped and another below it that is disk-shaped and looks like a doily. When prey lands on the "doily," the spider leaps down from the "bowl" and attacks it.
|Female Bowl-and-doily Spider, Durham, NC, 5/1/12||Female Bowl-and-Doily Spider, Durham, 10/3/16||Bowl-and-doily Spider, Durham, NC, 9/5/17|
|Female Bowl and Doily Spider, Eno River State Park, 10/18/07||Female Bowl-and-doily Spider on a streetlamp pole, Durham, NC, 11/20/12|
|Male Bowl and Doily Spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/12/08||Male Bowl-and-doily Spider, Durham, NC, 9/8/16||Male Bowl-and-doily Spider, ventral view. Durham, NC, 7/2/12||Same male Bowl-and-doily Spider, dorsal view|
Filmy Dome Spiders (Prolinyphia marginata)
|Filmy Dome Spider with fly prey, Congaree National Park, Richland County, SC, 4/30/11||Filmy Dome Spider, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 8/18/06. ID thanks to John Robinson, confirmed by Samford University's relevant page.||Filmy Dome Spider, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 7/30/09||Filmy Dome Spider, Korstian division, Duke Forest, Orange County, NC, 5/3/06||Female Filmy Dome Spider, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 4/18/09.|
Dwarf Spiders (subfamily Erigoninae)
|Dwarf spider (Baryphyma trifons) Subfamily ID thanks to Lynette Elliott.||Dwarf spider (Baryphyma trifons), Durham, NC, 12/10/20||Dwarf spider (Baryphyma trifons), Durham, NC, 12/29/18||Dwarf spider (Ceraticelus atriceps)||ID uncertain|| |
|Diplocephalus cristatus, Finnmark County, Norway, 1/30/11. Photo by Roy Erling Wr ånes.|
Ghost Spiders (Anyphaenidae family, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
|Ghost spider (Hibana genus). ID thanks to Laura P.||Ghost Spider, Durham, NC, 6/5/09. Family ID thanks to Lynette Elliott.||Ghost spider, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 6/16/07.|
Funnel Web Spiders and Grass Spiders (Agelenidae family, Other Amaurobioids, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Funnel web spiders have a two-part web consisting of a horizontal sheet which catches prey and a funnel-shaped tunnel in which the spider hides. In this way, these harmless (to humans) spiders bear a superficial resemblance to the highly venomous Sydney (Australia) Funnel-web Spiders, members of the Hexathelidae family, suborder Mygalomorphae. This is a classic example of how common names can cause serious confusion, not the least because web shape is a relatively unimportant spider classification factor.
On our deck, funnel web spiders spin horizontal webs that attach at one end to large round lights, curving partially around them across to the "funnel" end of the web. Moths drawn to the light find themselves trapped in the web because the web partially blocks their departure from the light. The web isn't sticky and sometimes moths find their way out. Yet sometimes the spider is faster, jumping up to bite a flying moth, which lands on the web. Since these lights are such a recent development in natural history, these spiders' strategic use of them looks a lot like human-like engineering reasoning. But spiders don't even have real brains: a single ganglion (a bundle of nerves) serves instead.
Grass spiders (Agelenopsis genus) are small and very common, often seen running along the ground.
In general, it is not possible to identify definitively the species of individual Agelenopsis genus spiders with only a dorsal view.
The infamous Hobo Spider (Tegenaria agrestis), found in the western US, is a member of this family, but not easy to identify. There is some controversy about their having a dangerous bite, but clear scientific evidence remains to be produced. Some points of view: https://www.arachnology.org/Arachnology/Pages/Hobo.html.
The spiders in this row are seen in summer mode, catching prey out in the open:
|Funnel web spider, with part of web on bush. A sight often overlooked. American Tobacco Trail, Durham, NC, 9/29/11||Funnel Web Spider, emerging from the "funnel" part of its web among pine needles, Piedmont Wildlife Center, Durham, NC, 5/8/10||Funnel web spider (probably Agelenolopsis genus), Johnston Mill, Orange County, NC, 7/1/06||Funnel web spider, Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/7/06||Funnel web spider with moth prey, Durham, NC, 9/24/08. ||Funnel web spider? Eno River State Park, Old Cole Mill Road access, 5/10/07, ventral view. The light color suggests that it's a recent molt.|
We know less about how funnel web spiders function in the winter, but this group of spiders (which may or may not be members of the same species as above) hid in white cocoon-like enclosures beneath the bark of a rotting tree, but they are much tougher than moth cocoons and probably do an excellent job of protecting spiders from cold.
|Funnel web spider, Durham, NC, 2/27/11. This web didn't have an obvious funnel shape.||Cocoon-like structures containing spiders, Durham, NC, 2/27/11.|
Nursery Web Spiders and Fishing Spiders (Pisauridae family, Lycosoidea, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
These spiders are noted both for their ability to walk on water and for their spiderlings, which stay together until relatively large. Their only use of silk is to build their "nursery webs."
Six-spotted Fishing Spiders (Dolomedes triton)
|Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton) with sea snail, Durham, NC, 5/03/05||Six-spotted Fishing Spider, Durham, NC, 5/9/19||Six-spotted Fishing Spider, Durham, NC, 6/9/11|
Six-spotted Fishing Spider juveniles
|Young fishing spider (Dolomedes genus), Durham, NC, 5/10/20. Genus ID thanks to Laura P.||Young fishing spider with leafhopper or aphid prey, Durham, NC, 8/9/20||Juvenile Six-spotted Fishing Spider, Durham, NC, 8/18/20||Spider, maybe Dolomedes genus, Durham, NC, 6/24/009|
Dark Fishing Spiders (Dolomedes tenebrosus)
|Male Dark Fishing Spider, Durham, NC, 6/6/11||Dark Fishing Spider, Eno River State Park (Old Cole Mill Rd. access), Orange County, NC, 3/24/11||Dark Fishing Spider, Cherryville, Gaston County, NC, 5/30/11. Photo by Destiny Canipe.||Dark Fishing Spider, seemed to be injured at first glance but was simply completely limp. It was large and apparently old. Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 7/18/11||Dark Fishing Spider, indoors. Photo by Michaela Brown. ID is uncertain: markings aren't typical.|
|Dark Fishing Spider , a lake in Illinois, 7/9/07, taken by Danielle Lessing. © 2007 Danielle Lessing||This picture gives a better picture of how big this Dark Fishing Spider was. Ms. Lessing said it seemed to be five inches across.|
Whitebanded Fishing Spiders (Dolomedes albineus)
|Whitebanded Fishing Spider. ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban. Confirmed by wolfpacksved.|
Nursery Web Spiders (Pisaurina genus)
|Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira) , Durham, NC, 6/22/05.||Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira) , Durham, NC, 8/14/08||Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira), Durham, NC, 9/13/11||Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira), Geithner Park, Hickory, Catawba County, NC, 9/25/09||Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira), Durham, NC, 9/10/20||Same Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira), Durham, NC, 9/10/20||I'm guessing these are Nursery Web spiderlings. Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 9/16/05.|
|Nursery web spider (Pisaurina dubia), Durham, NC, 10/27/13||Nursery web spider (Pisaurina dubia)||Nursery web spider (Pisaurina dubia), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 9/12/12|
Wolf Spiders (Lycosidae family, Lycosoidea, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
|Wolf spider (Tigrosa georgicola), Durham, NC, 5/5/14. ID thanks to Laura P.|
|Wolf spider (Allocosa funerea), Durham, NC, 3/27/20||Wolf spider (Allocosa funerea), Jordan Lake, Chatham County, NC, 11/29/15||Wolf spider (Allocosa funerea), Durham, NC, 4/26/09|
|Pirate Wolf Spider, Durham, NC, 1/21/13. ID thanks to Laura P. and John and Jane Balaban.||Pirate Wolf Spider, Durham, NC 11/17/20||Pirate Wolf Spider, Durham, NC, 12/10/20|
|Wolf spider (Gladicosa gulosa), Durham, NC, 2/6/19. ID thanks to Laura P.||Gladicosa pulchra, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 11/27/07. ID thanks to Laura P.|
|Lance Wolf Spider (Schizocosa avida), Durham, NC, 1/12/13||Lance Wolf Spider (Schizocosa avida), Durham, NC, 11/1/06||Wolf spider (Schizocosa crassipes), Durham, NC, 5/5/15||Wolf spider (Schizocosa crassipes), Durham, NC, 4/19/11|
|Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida) carrying young, Durham, NC, 9/22/18||Rabid Wolf Spider with egg sac, Durham, NC, 9/28/20||Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida), relatively large and moving fast, at the Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 11/22/11||Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham, NC, 8/31/08||Rabid Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida), a Jordan Lake gameland, 6/19/07|
|Wolf spider (Trabeops aurantiacus), Durham, NC, 2/17/17. ID thanks to Steve Scholnick.||Wolf spider (Trabeops auranticus), Durham, NC, 2/23/17|
Lynx Spiders (Oxyopidae family, Lycosoidea, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans)
|Green Lynx Spider, Durham, NC, 9/4/12||Green Lynx Spider with wasp prey, Durham, NC, 7/31/07||Green Lynx Spiders: mother and spiderlings with egg sac, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/27/13. This image illustrates this species' capability for camouflage.||Green Lynx Spider with egg sac, Durham, NC, 10/17/20||Green Lynx Spider, Durham, NC, 8/10/13||Green Lynx Spider, with egg sac, Opelika, AL, 10/16/13||Green Lynx spiderlings of the spider on the left, Opelika, AL, 10/16/13||Green Lynx Spider, NC Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 7/17/09||Female Green Lynx Spider, in fall brown coloring, central Florida, 11/16/11. Photo taken by Chester Wheeler|
Striped Lynx Spider (Oxyopes salticus)
|Striped Lynx Spider, Durham, NC, 7/16/20||Striped Lynx Spider, Durham, NC, 7/29/12||Striped Lynx Spider , with small green prey, Boone, NC, 8/6/08||Striped Lynx Spider , with large black prey, Durham, 8/16/08.|
Crab Spiders (Thomisidae family, Dionycha, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Whitebanded Crab Spider (Misumenoides formosipes)
|Male Whitebanded Crab Spider, Durham, NC, 9/7/12||Male Whitebanded Crab Spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/12/08||This male Whitebanded Spider was busily spinning a web. It looks as though this spider has only three legs however, its two hind pairs are small and light-colored and didn't come out in these photos. The spider is missing one of its large black forelegs. Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Durham County, NC, 9/16/05.||Same male Whitebanded Crab Spider|
|White-banded Crab Spider, Durham, NC, 9/10/20||Female Whitebanded Crab Spider, assuming yellow color, with bumblebee prey. Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/19/11||Female Whitebanded Crab Spider also assuming yellow color, with bee prey, Durham, NC, 9/24/15|
|Female Whitebanded Crab Spiderwith wasp prey, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 8/23/13||Female White-banded Crab Spider (Misumenoides formosipes, Thomisidae family), on a Little-leaf Sensitive Briar flower, Riverbend Park, Catawba County, NC, 9/24/09||Female Whitebanded Crab Spider, Durham, NC, 5/21/16||Whitebanded Crab Spider with fly prey on Siler's Bald in Macon County, NC, on 8/10/05.||Female Whitebanded Crab Spider with Eastern Tailed Blue prey on Brazilian Verbena, Durham, NC, 9/28/08|
Goldenrod Spider (Misumena vatia)
|Female Goldenrod Crab Spider, Durham, NC, 8/28/18||Goldenrod Crab Spider, Tanawha Trail, Avery County, NC, 7/1/10||Goldenrod spider?, a very young spider.||Male Goldenrod Spider, Durham, NC, 7/7/12. This one landed on a trail bollard.|
|Very young Goldenrod spider, Durham, NC, 4/14/20||Goldenrod Spider, Durham, NC, 9/8/16||Goldenrod Spider (Misumena vatia), on oak catkin, on 3/30/20.||Goldenrod Spider, Durham, NC, 4/2/16||Goldenrod Spider, Durham, NC, 5/31/14|
Mecaphesa (formerly Misumenops) genus
|Crab spider (Mecaphesa asperata), Blue Ridge Parkway, Avery County, NC, 8/2/12||Female Flower Spider ( Mecaphesa asperata), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/2/05.||Crab Spider (Mecaphesa genus ), Durham, NC, 8/13/05. Apparently lying in wait for prey.||Crab Spider (Mecaphesa genus ) North Carolina Museum of Art outdoor trail, Wake County, NC, 5/8/07, with grasshopper prey.|
|Crab spider (Mecaphesa carletonica), Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines, Moore County, NC 10/31/14||Crab spider (Mecaphesa dubia), Durham, NC, 6/8/12||Crab spider (Mecaphesa dubia), Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 6/23/05. This one showed up on my car.|
|Crab spider (Synema parvulum), Durham, NC, 10/27/20||Crab spider (Synema parvulum), Durham, NC, 4/11/19||Crab spider (Synema parvulum), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 1/4/13||Crab spider (Synema parvulum) with spider prey, Durham, NC, 3/17/12||Crab spider (Synema parvulum), Durham, NC, 2/28/17||Tiny crab spider (Synema parvulum), with prey, Indian Creek Trail, a Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC, 7/7/06.|
|Crab spider (Xysticus funestus), Durham, NC, 5/29/20||Xysticus genus spider with egg sac. Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, NC, 8/15/10||Xysticus genus spider. Durham (swamp in my neighborhood), NC, 9/22/05.||Xysticus genus spider, Durham, NC, 10/1/05. Also found in local swamp. This spider was about ⅛ inch long.|
|Xysticus genus spider , Wannamaker County Park, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06||Xysticus genus spider, Durham, NC, 5/17/08||Xysticus genus spider with ant prey, Durham, NC, 5/27/09|
|Crab spider, Durham, NC, 7/2/12. ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban .||Crab spider, Durham, NC, 10/10/12|
|Crab Spider, Bassaniana genus maybe, Southern Village, Chapel Hill, NC, 5/7/09|
Unidentified Crab Spider
|Crab Spider, Durham, NC, 8/17/06. Showed up on door to our deck.|
Running Crab Spiders (Philodromidae family, Dionycha, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder )
|Male running crab spider, maybe Ebo genus, Durham, NC, 1/5/13||Running crab spider, Congaree National Park, SC, 4/30/11. ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban, confirmed by Lynette Elliott.||Running crab spider (Philodromus genus perhaps), Durham, NC, date unknown. ID thanks to John R. Maxwell.||Metallic Crab Spider (Philodromus maxi) spider, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 6/9/07||Philodromus fuscamarginatus, Finnmark County, Norway, 1/30/11. Photo by Roy Erling Wrånes.|
Ground Spiders (Gnaphosidae family, Gnaphosoidea, Dionycha, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
These are mainly nocturnal spiders that hide under rocks during the day, but every now and then we get a glimpse of them scurrying across a walking path. They may be often overlooked because they look like ants from a distance. However, they should not be confused with the "ant-mimic" spiders of Corinnidae, which look like brown ants up close.
|Gnaphosa muscorum? Durham, NC, 6/9/05. You can see only six legs, but this small (magnified) spider apparently lost some.||Gnaphosa muscorum? Durham, NC, 6/16/05. The abdomens have different colors and different numbers of spots.||Ground spider (Sergiolus capulatus), Durham, NC, 2/17/06||Ground spider (Cesonia bilineata), McAfee's Knob, Roanoke County, VA, 1/1/12||Ground spider (Cesonia bilineata), Durham, NC, 6/13/06.||Ground Spider (Drassyllus genus), Durham, NC, 4/3/20. ID thanks to Laura P.https://bugguide.net/user/view/59933|
Ant Mimic Spiders (Corinnidae family, Gnaphosoidea, Dionycha, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Ground sac spider (Castianeira longipalpa)
|Ground Sac Spider, Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 6/6/11||Antmimic spider , Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 5/15/15||Ground sac spider, American Tobacco Trail (miles 0-2), Durham, NC, 5/2/10||Ground sac spider, Southpoint Swamp, Durham, NC, 9/26/07, a moderate-sized spider. Thanks to Lynette Elliott for genus ID.||Ground sac spider, Durham, NC, 7/7/08||Corinnid spider , Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes County, NC, 6/18/09|
Red-spotted Ant Mimic Spider (Castianeira descripta)
|Red-spotted Ant Mimic , Durham, NC, 11/20/07||Red-spotted Ant Mimic Spider , Durham, NC, 5/18/08|
Three-lined Ant Mimic Spider (Castianeira trilineata)
|Three-lined Antmimic Spider, Durham, NC, 5/24/20||Three-lined Ant Mimic Spider, Durham, NC, 6/02/11. ID thanks to Kevin Pfeiffer.||Three-lined Ant Mimic Spider, Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 11/19/12|
Pleasing Ant Mimic Spider (Castaneira amoena)
|Ant mimic spider (Castaneira amoena), Durham, NC, 11/7/13|
Sac Spiders (Clubionidae family)
|Sac spider (Clubionidae family). Note the spinnerets at the end of the abdomen. Kyron thinks it might be a Clubiona genus member.||Sac spider, Durham, NC, 3/10/16|
Jumping Spiders (Salticidae family, Dionycha, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)
Jumping spiders seem to have excellent vision and quick response times. One thing that's obvious is that they (except those in the Synemosyninae subfamily) can make big moves, such as 180° complete turnabouts, almost instantaneously, and don't need to have a completely horizontal surface to do it, either! They pounce on prey rather than using webs to catch it.
Attidops genus (no subfamily)
|Jumping spider (Attidops youngi, female)|
These spiders mimic the ant Pseudomyrmex caeciliae very closely.
|Male antmimic jumping spider (Synemosyna formica), Durham, NC, 5/27/14||Male antmimic jumping spider (Synemosyna formica), Durham, NC, 6/1/14||Female antmimic jumping spider (Synemosyna formica), Durham, NC, 12/29/20||Female antmimic jumping spider (Synemosyna formica), Durham, NC, 12/10/20||Female ntmimic jumping spider (Synemosyna formica)||Female antmimic jumping spider (Synemosyna formica), Durham, NC, 10/25/14||Apparently pregnant antmimic jumping spider (Synemosyna formica), Durham, NC, 5/5/19|
|Orange Antmimic Jumping Spider (Sarinda hentzi), Durham, 6/4/16||Same Orange Antmimic Jumping Spider|
|Antmimic jumping spider (Peckhamia americana)||Same antmimic jumping spider|
|Female Magnolia Green Jumping Spider (Lyssomanes viridis, subfamily Lyssomaninae), outdoor trail at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 5/8/07||Male Magnolia Green Jumping Spider (Lyssomanes viridis), which showed up on my hat at the Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 5/22/09||Male Magnolia Green Jumping Spider (Lyssomanes viridis), Durham, NC, 5/29/15|
|Twinflagged Jumping Spider (Anasaitis canosa), Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 6/25/08. ID thanks to Ryan Kaldari see associated BugGuide page .|
Bronze Jumper (Eris Militaris) (no subfamily)
|Bronze Jumper, Durham, NC, 11/24/14||Bronze Jumper, Durham, NC, 10/3/13||Bronze Jumper, Durham, NC, 9/10/20||Bronze Jumper, Durham, NC, 11/13/17||Bronze Jumper, Durham, NC, 11/18/17|
|Jumping spider (Phidippus aurantius), Durham, NC, 5/7/20. Is carrying prey.||Male jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius), Durham, NC, 5/30/15||Male jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius), Durham, NC, 5/19/15||Jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/28/07. Probably juvenile.||Very young jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius), Durham, NC, 2/22/12.||Jumping spider (probably Paraphidippus aurantius), Durham, NC, 5/11/21||Very young jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius), Durham, NC, 2/10/20|
|Female jumping spider, Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Raleigh, NC, 6/7/14||Female jumping spider, with prey. Flat River Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 7/18/11||Male jumping spider , Durham, NC, 6/15/08||Male jumping spider with prey, Durham, NC, 5/29/08|
|Jumping spider, Durham, NC, 6/14/13||Jumping spider, Durham, NC, 10/8/20||Jumping Spide, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 5/6/19||Same jumping spider|
|Male jumping spider (Phidippus whitmani), at Abbott Lake, Peaks of Otter Recreational Area, Bedford County, Virginia, 7/9/09|
|Jumping spider, a female Phidippus otiosus, Durham, NC, 10/28/14||Jumping spider (female Phidippus otiosus), Durham, NC, 10/3/14||Jumping spider (male Phidippus otiosus)||Jumping spider (male Phidippus otiosus) on a pokeweed plant, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 10/29/15||Big jumping spider (male Phidippus otiosis), Durham, NC, 4/20/12||Another view of the big jumping spider (male Phidippus otiosus)|
Daring Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax)
|Jumping spider, Durham, NC, 9/6/19||Daring Jumping spider, Durham, NC, 9/5/17||Same Daring Jumping Spider, Durham, NC, 9/5/17||Daring Jumping spider, Durham, NC, 9/22/13|
|Jumping spider (Phidippus mystaceus), Occoneechee Mountain, Orange County, NC, October 29, 2009|
|Jumping spider (male Phidippus princeps), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham, NC, 4/4/09. ID thanks to Ryan Kaldari.||Jumping spider (female Phidippus princeps), Durham, NC, 9/30/15||Jumping spider (female Phidippus princeps), Durham, NC, 7/1/15||Jumping spider (female Phidippus princeps), Durham, NC, 10/7/14||Jumping spider (female Phidippus princeps), Durham, NC, 10/23/15||Jumping spider (female Phidippus princeps), Durham, NC, 10/23/15|
Red-backed Jumping Spider (Phidippus johnsoni)
Note: these are generally believed to be Western spiders, so this is an interesting finding.
|Durham, NC, 3/23/16. ID thanks to Sebastian A. Eccheverri, Ph.D.||Durham, NC, 5/5/15|
|Peppered Jumping Spider (Pelegrina galathea), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/10/14.||Peppered Jumper (Pelegrina galathea), Durham, NC, 5/8/08||Jumping spider (male Pelegrina proterva), Durham, NC, 10/13/20||Jumping spider (another male Pelegrina proterva), Durham, NC, 3/27/17||Jumping spider (yet another male Pelegrina Proterva), Durham, NC, 4/21/21||Jumping spider (male Pelegrina proterva)||Jumping spider (yet another male Pelegrina Proterva), Durham, NC, 11/1/12|
|Jumping spider (female Colonus sylvanus), Durham, NC, 6/5/14||Jumping spider (juvie female Colonus sylvanus), Durham, NC, 9/16/20||Same jumping spider (Colonus sylvanus)||Jumping spider (female Colonus sylvanus), Durham, NC, 5/17/19||Durham, NC, 9/15/11|
|Jumping spider (male Colonus sylvanus), Durham, NC, 10/20/20||Jumping spider (male Colonus sylvanus), Durham, NC, 5/17/19||Jumping spider (male Colonus sylvanus), Durham, NC, 5/28/13||Jumping spider (male Colonus sylvanus, Durham, NC, 5/21/16||Jumping spider (male Colonus sylvanus, Durham, NC, 5/21/09||Jumping spider (male Colonus sylvanus, Durham, NC, 9/25/11|
|Female, Durham, NC, 10/27/11||Female with wasp prey, Durham, NC, 3/30/18||Female, Durham, NC, January 31, 2017||Male, Durham, NC, 11/30/18||Male, Durham, NC, 4/17/18||Male, Durham, NC, 9/28/20||Jumping spider (male Hentzia mitrata), Durham, NC, 5/11/21||Male, Durham, NC, 3/7/16|
|Jumping spider (Hentzia palmarum), Durham, NC, 11/20/20||Another jumping spider, wiping eye, Durham, NC, 12/22/20||Same jumping spider, wiping eye, Durham, NC, 12/22/20||Female, Durham, NC, 10/24/20||Female, Durham, NC, 11/2/20||Female, Durham, NC, 10/20/20||Female, Durham, NC, 3/7/16||Female, Durham, NC, 11/13/17||Female, Durham, NC, 11/17/16||Male, Durham, NC, 6/11/20|
|Jumping spider (Tutelina elegans), Durham, NC, 6/11/09|
|Jumping spider (Platycryptus undatus)||Jumping spider (Platycryptus undatus), Durham, NC, 8/14/07. This was a relatively large spider, at least 13 mm long and very lively.||Jumping Spider (Platycryptus undatus),Durham, NC, 7/13/06. It is missing its left foreleg.|
|Jumping spider (Metacyrba taeniola), Durham, NC, 6/20/05|
|Female Dimorphic Jumper (Maevia inclemens), Durham, NC, 5/30/15||Female Dimorphic Jumper (Maevia inclemens), Durham, NC, 3/30/20||Same female Dimorphic Jumper||Female Dimorphic Jumper (Maevia inclemens), Durham, NC, 7/10/14||Female Dimorphic Jumper ( Maevia inclemens), Eno River State Park, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 7/27/07||Male Dimorphic Jumper (Maevia inclemens), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 6/16/13|
Notes on Taxonomy Choices
Generally speaking, spider taxonomy is based on anatomical structure characteristics and nature of behavior, e.g., the movements a spider makes while constructing a web, with final web shape a lesser consideration. Some spiders ambush and pounce on prey rather than catching it in a web. This is based on the theoretical heredity pattern on certain traits during the process of evolution. Nevertheless, certain families have misleading common names, e.g., "orb weavers."
Spider taxonomy today, now basically on spider genome data, is a work in progress: although the family, genus and species classifications shown below are mainly traditional, the higher taxa are in the process of substantial revision and different sources seem to represent different stages of the process. We have done our best to make sense of this situation and are trying to keep as current as possible.
We have chosen the Tree of Life Web spider pages to supply the higher taxa shown here: we should note, however, that all or most of its web pages used here are marked "temporary page." The Tree of Life Web does not supply taxa under the Araneidae family: for this, we have used Animal Diversity Web Araneidae pages . Since the number of levels in the developing hierarchy is still under consideration, none are assigned names such as "superfamily." The classifications below represent their trees in a simplified form to show the relationships among the members of this small subset of (mainly North Carolina) spider species, with taxa at the head of each family category presented from lowest to highest in the hierarchy. For details on where this process was in 1999, see Griswold et al., 1999 .
Copyright © 2005-2020 by Dorothy E. Pugh, except for photos explicitly designated as having been taken by other photographers.
Midge Life Cycle
Like other flies, chironomid midges have a four-stage life cycle (Figure 3). Females lay eggs on the surface of the water. Each gelatinous egg mass may contain over 1,000 eggs depending on the species. Eggs sink to the bottom where they hatch in several days to one week. After leaving the egg mass, larvae burrow into the mud or construct small tubes in which they live. Larvae enlarge their tubes as they grow. Suspended organic matter in the water and in the mud is used as food by the developing larvae. After they grow, the larvae take on a pink color and gradually turn red. Consequently, mature larvae (Figure 4) are commonly called &ldquoblood worms.&rdquo The red color results from an iron containing compound, haemoglobin, found in the midge&rsquos blood. The haemoglobin allows the larvae to respire under low dissolved oxygen conditions in the bottom mud. The larval stage can take from 2 to 7 weeks depending on water temperature. Larvae transform into pupae while still in their tubes. After about three days, pupae actively swim to the surface, and adults emerge several hours later. Adults mate in swarms soon after emerging. More recent studies have shown that adult midges actually feed on nectar and other sugary materials. They live for only 3 to 5 days.
During the summer, the entire life cycle from egg to adult can be completed in 2 to 3 weeks. In the fall, larvae do not pupate. They suspend their development and pass through the winter months as mature larvae. Pupation and emergence of adults occur in the following spring in late March or early April. Several more generations of midges are produced throughout summer, resulting in mass emergences of adults that often aggregate on plant foliage near the water&rsquos edge (Figure 5). In each generation, adults will typically emerge in large numbers for several weeks
Figure 3. Midge life cycle.
Phil Koehler, University of Florida
Figure 3. Midge life cycle.
Phil Koehler, University of Florida
Figure 4. Chironomid midge larva.
Figure 4. Chironomid midge larva.
Figure 5. Midge adults resting on foliage in a yard near a pond.
Figure 5. Midge adults resting on foliage in a yard near a pond.
Before coming to the USGS as a Mendenhall Fellow in 2014, I worked in a wide variety of systems. I was introduced to – and fell in love with - the discipline of conservation biology early in my undergraduate career when I was invited to assist on research on human-wildlife conflict with tigers in Sumatra, Indonesia. During this time, I spent a summer in Baja, Mexico, learning about conservation approaches for sea turtles. I went on to complete a professional degree in conservation biology at the University of Maryland, where I was exposed to a wide curriculum in economics, policy, ecology, and geography – including a summer semester in tropical ecology in Costa Rica. I moved to the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland to complete my PhD under the co-advisement of Drs. Ruth Defries and Bill Fagan. I studied the effects of habitat and connectivity loss for golden-headed lion tamarins in the Atlantic rainforests of Brazil. My post-doctoral research was completed at Virginia Tech under Dr. Jeff Walters, where we developed decision support tools for the conservation of red-cockaded woodpeckers on military installations in the southeastern U.S. Throughout this time, I’ve assisted in conservation workshops as a member of the IUCN’s Conservation Planning Specialist Group.
B.A. 2004 – Environmental Science (mathematics minor), Franklin and Marshall College
M.S. 2006 – Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, University of
Ph.D. 2011 – Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland
Post-doctoral research 2011-2014 – Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech
Science and Products
Forecasting the effects of sea-level rise on piping plover habitat and utilization
Policy-makers, individuals from government agencies, and natural resource managers are under increasing pressure to foster coastal areas that are economically, socially, and ecologically sound as sea levels rise. To support related decision-making, my colleagues and I conduct research needed to create tools for identifying suitable coastal habitats for species of concern – or, conversely, areas of high hazard exposure for humans and infrastructure - today and into the future. We forecast the most likely (1) shoreline change rate, (2) barrier island characteristics, and (3) piping plover habitat availability under different sea-level rise rates and storm regimes.
Gutierrez, BT, NG Plant, EA Pendleton, ER Thieler. 2014. Using a Bayesian network to predict shoreline-change vulnerability to sea-level rise for the coasts of the United States. United States Geological Survey open file report 2014-1083. 26 pp. https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20141083.
Gutierrez, BT, NG Plant, ER Thieler, A Turecek. 2015. Using a Bayesian network to predict barrier island geomorphologic characteristics. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 120: 2451-2475. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015JF003671
Thieler, ER, LA Winslow, MK Hines, JS Read, JI Walker, SL Zeigler. 2016. Leveraging low-cost mobile platforms for large-scale shorebird science: application to biogeomorphic attribute classification of Charadrius melodus nest sites. Plos One. 11(11): e0164979. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164979
Sturdivant, EJ, ER Thieler, SL Zeigler, LA Winslow, MK Hines, JS Read, JI Walker, Biogeomorphic classification and images of shorebird nesting sites on the U.S. Atlantic coast: U.S. Geological Survey data release. 2016. doi: 10.5066/F70V89X3
Zeigler, SL, ER Thieler, BT Gutierrez, NG Plant, M Hines, JD Fraser, DH Catlin, SM Karpanty. In Press. Smartphone technologies and Bayesian networks to assess shorebird habitat selection. Wildlife Society Bulletin.
Piping plover population dynamics, extinction risk, and conservation
Changes to the natural disturbance regime and an increase in human-mediated habitat loss have threatened piping plovers throughout the species’ range. I work with USGS colleagues and partners at Virginia Tech to understand how these threats influence habitat availability, movement between populations, population dynamics, and extinction risk for this species.
Zeigler, SL, DH Catlin, M Bomberger-Brown, JD Fraser, L Dinan, K Hunt, JG Jorgensen, and SM Karpanty. 2017. Effects of climate change and anthropogenic modification on a disturbance-dependent species in a large riverine system. Ecosphere. 8(1): e01653. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1653
Catlin, DH, M Bomberger-Brown, L Dinan, JD Fraser, KL Hunt, J Jorgensen, and SL Zeigler. 2016. Metapopulation viability of an endangered shorebird depends on man-made habitats: piping plovers and prairie rivers. Movement Ecology. 4(6): 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40462-016-0072-y
Biogeomorphological responses of barrier islands to sea-level rise
As my colleague, Dr. Erika Lentz, found, coastal landforms will respond in a variety of ways to sea-level rise, with some areas responding dynamically while others are inundated. I am working with Erika and others to better understand the nature of these dynamic responses. We are currently examining likely biogeomorphological changes that Fire Island, New York, will experience under varying rates of sea-level rise.
Lentz, EE, ER Thieler, NP Plant, SR Stippa, R Horton, and DB Gesch. 2016. Evaluation of dynamic coastal response to sea-level rise modifies inundation likelihood. Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2957
Decision support tools for managing sea-level rise
As sea-level rise affects coastal landscapes, information related to those effects will be relevant to people from diverse backgrounds, from prospective homebuyers researching their investment, to community planners evaluating facility construction for recreational beach users, to natural resource managers attempting to protect optimal shorebird habitats. My colleagues and I are working to convert models of sea-level rise, barrier island biogeomorphology, and coastal response to no-cost open-source software that will be imbedded in an interactive web-interface. In this interface, users can view how changes to model parameters influence the likelihood that their area of interest will be inundated under different SLR scenarios. We are ultimately developing a mechanism where interdisciplinary USGS science and models can be placed in the hands of decision- and policy-makers as they attempt to plan for sea-level rise.
Identifying a spider from coastal Virginia - Biology
The identification tool is intended to help hobbiests identify wildflowers based on easily observable characteristics. The database is searched for flowers that have ALL of the characteristics that you selected, so leave the "search all" option selected for any information that your're not sure of. Because we're looking for characteristics that are obvious to the untrained eye, we've taken some liberty with the detailed biology. Click the icons for more details.
- Asymetrical and irregular flowers: These are flowers that don't have classic-looking petals sticking out of a central point. Instead, they have more complex shapes. An example of this type of flower is the everlasing pea.
- Flowers with rays or petals: These are the typical daisy-like flowers, with some number of petals, sepals, or ray flowers emerging from a central point or disc. We're loosely referring to all of these structures as petals here, even though they've actually have more correct names. Look for these flowers by the number of petals.
- Flowers with numerous very thin petals: Think "fringy." Think dandelions fleabanes, and thistles. This group doesn't correspond to any particular biologic category, it's just those flowers that are symetrical, but either don't have petals, or have so many tiny ones that you can't count them.
- Flowers with fused petals: These flowers are symetrical, but their petals are joined along the sides, like a morning glory. An example is field bindweed, shown to the right.
Height: Full height of the mature plant, in feet.
Flower width: For round and flattish flowers, the diameter of in individual blossom. For more irregular flowers, the longest dimension of the blossom. For clusters of flowers, use the size of the individual blossoms, even if they're tiny. For example, the flower size is 0.125 inches, even though the cluster (which you might consider to be the flower at first glance) measures 3 inches or more.
Although this is probably the most obvious characteristic, it is also the most variable. We've tried to group colors into a few categories, but one flower may occur in more than one color category.
The month when you found the flower blooming. The data have been assigned based on the northeastern US, so you may need to make adjustments for your location. Also, variations in weather from year to year will affect when some flowers bloom.
Select the shape that best describes the leaves of the plant. If the plant has multiple leaflets coming from a single stalk, select divided, reguardless of the characteristics of the individual leaflets.
If a plant has two or more types of leaves, select multiple .
Our database includes photographs of leaves, fruits, and buds, in addition to blooming flowers.
- Individual Flowers: One blossom per stem. However, one plant may have any number of stems with blossoms.
- Elongate Clusters: A number of flowers emerging from a single main stem, like tall bellflower, shown to the right.
- Rounded or flat clusters: A number of blossoms emanating from a central stem, with the overall cluster being wider than it is long.
How to Get Rid of House Spiders
Because of their web site selection by trial and error, many webs may be constructed in several days. Dust collecting on these webs accentuates their presence. This situation is unacceptable in most households, not to mention offices and other working environments.
If you have a house spider infestation that you urgently need removed, Eastside Exterminators can help. Our pest control operators use the latest spider control methods to clear them and keep them out of people’s homes. To schedule our services to get rid of the pnw spiders, call us at 425-482-2100 today.
VA SEA Lesson Plans
Below are classroom-tested science lesson plans created for VA SEA by science graduate students. To view or download the full lesson plan, click on the lesson plan's title.
2021 Lesson Plans
Antimicrobial Sensitivity Testing: The Search for Antibiotics
Examining agar plates, students determining the effectiveness of antibiotics for fish pathogens.
Case of the Stressed-out Larva: A Study of Climate Change Effects on Oyster Cellular Physiology
Using a jigsaw puzzle approach, students will piece together the results of three molecular measures to understand how warming and acidified waters affect the health of oyster larvae.
Dial C for Collaboration: Finding Unknowns with Your Fellow Scientists
In the sciences, collaboration is key. This exercise allows students to explore scientific collaboration and how to use "known s" to measure an unknown using a linear equation.
Etiology in Action: Identifying Aquaculture Disease Threats through Data Analysis
How do scientists identify emerging disease threats? In this lesson, students will examine fish health, aquatic disease ecology, and aquaculture practices to answer this question.
Fish Census: Monitoring Finfish Populations in Chesapeake Bay
In this activity, students will utilize data collected from a scientific survey to explore where different fishes live in a coastal estuary, and how their populations change over time.
Growing Up Is Hard: Vertical Accretion in Salt Marshes
In this exercise, s tudents will u se graphing to examine the importance of natural environmental feedbacks on marsh survival.
High to Low: Exploring Estuarine Gradients
In this lesson, student scientists will examine nutrients, suspended sediment, and phytoplankton level then plot their results to track estuarine gradients.
Marsh Migration Mania!
In this lesson, students investigate sea-level rise and migration of saltmarsh invertebrates in a "ghost forest."
Migrating to Motherhood: The Story of Female Blue Crabs in Their Ecosystem
This lesson guides students through an investigation of the migratory patterns of blue crabs, their life stages, ecosystem use by life stage, harvest, and human impacts to their population.
Sunny-Side-Up: Temperature & Lobster Egg Development
This lesson allows students to use math and science to characterize the effects of temperature on lobster egg development. Students will measure features of lobster eggs at different time points and plot how they change across development. This development will be compared between lobsters from different environments, and students will be asked to draw conclusions about how these differences may relate to lobster performance and climate change.
Watercolors: Relating Properties of Light to Organic Matter and Ecosystem Production
Using properties of light, students will determine the source and composition of dissolved organic matter in estuaries influenced by different land types its subsequent relationship with ecosystem production.
2020 Lesson Plans
The Code in the Water: An Investigation into Harmful and Non-harmful Algal Blooms
Algal blooms can be detected using the DNA extracted from water samples. This activity allows students to identify algae and understand the causes of algal blooms.
Biology / Environmental Science / Oceanography
Dichotomous Keys: An Essential Tool for Fish Detectives
How do scientists identify an unknown fish? In this activity, students will utilize a dichotomous key to identify unknown fishes from the Chesapeake Bay and will then characterize their trophic levels based on feeding preferences and adaptations. Students will gain an understanding of organism classification, trophic level interactions, and how fishes may play different trophic roles throughout their lives.
DNA Detectives: Protecting Endangered Species
For this lesson, students will be U.S. Fish and Wildlife Biologists. They will be tasked with figuring out which endangered or threatened species they have by identifying a genetic sequence unique to their species. The students will then have to research why their species in endangered or threatened and write a formal report of their findings to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Feeding Time: How Nutrients Drive Phytoplankton Growth
This lesson plan helps students make the connection between the amount of nutrients present in an ecosystem and the resulting growth of phytoplankton in our coastal waters. This lesson takes this concept a step deeper, by exploring how the proportions of nitrogen and phosphorus in the environment create the ideal conditions for phytoplankton growth. Students will explore the concept of limiting factors and will work on both their graphing skills and their ability to compare ratios.
Old MacDonald Had an Aquaculture Farm
With this activity, students will learn the importance of aquaculture and how it can be used to manage a resource.
What different methods and new technologies are used to monitor harmful algae and the toxins that they produce? Students will learn about how harmful algae threaten human health through the processes of bioaccumulation and biomagnification. In small groups, they will design a harmful algae monitoring program based on mock harmful algae data, and then they will test their monitoring program and discover some of the challenges and limitations of any monitoring plan that attempts to measure variable, natural events.
Trees of the Seas
What are harmful algal blooms and why do they occur? In this lesson plan, students will run their own experiments to investigate how eutrophication can cause harmful algal blooms and investigate strategies for preventing them.
Wave Fever: The Climate Induced Range Expansion of the Atlantic Marsh Fiddler Crab
In 2014, scientists found that the Atlantic marsh fiddler crab had extended its northern limit by ㆒ miles to New Hampshire, which is in the Gulf of Maine. Range expanding species can alter salt marsh characteristics such as biodiversity and food webs. In this lesson, s tudents will combine sea surface temperature data from a federal database and fiddler burrow densities from field photos to determine the relationship between ocean warming and range expansions.
What's In the Muck? Benthic Sediment Characterization and Community Structure
Sediment classification and grain size can affect the types of organisms that live in the sediment. Some organisms prefer sandier sediment, while others love the fine-grained mud. In this activity, students will classify sediment samples by grain size and plot their findings on a ternary plot. The students will then further investigate which benthic organisms live in the different sediments and which may be more resilient to a change in sediment classification.
Zoop Soup (and Poop!)
Microscopic poops with a global impact! Students learn about the ecological and global importance of zooplankton and their fecal pellets in the ocean carbon cycle. Students are guided through the scientific method while participating in an activity that simulates real sediment trap fecal pellet research. Students hypothesize where a sediment trap was set based on the "fecal pellets" contained in their sample, identify source species using a dichotomous key, count and weigh biomass of pellets, and graph and share results with classmates.
Life science / Biology / Environmental Science / Oceanography
2019 Lesson Plans
Expedition Sediments: Mud's Journey through the Watershed
Expedition Sediments is a game-in-a-lesson that allows students to explore the movement of sediments through watersheds by moving around the classroom. This lesson explores how grains of estuarine mud and sand move throughout estuaries and coastal regions, with a focus on processes surrounding a highly populated estuary such as the Chesapeake Bay. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to explain how sediments are transported through an estuary, graph sediment residence times in different locations, and compare the timescales of different sediment transport processes.
Earth Science / Environmental Science
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Whose Fish?
This activity invites students to assume the role of various stakeholders in fisheries management and actively discuss the influence of economics, ecology and human interactions in decision-making. Students will demonstrate their argument for/against a certain regulation by participating as a specific stakeholder (i.e. commercial fisher, recreational fisher, scientists/researcher, environmental group, management agency, and citizen). Students will recognize that stakeholders tend to advocate based on their individual needs, often making it difficult for proposed policies to satisfy the needs of all stakeholders and achieve sustainability goals.
Prismatic Little Plankton
This is a hands-on interdisciplinary activity that incorporates the fun of biology into physics! Students participate in chromatography experiments to investigate the properties of plant pigments found in various fruits and vegetables, representing pigments commonly found in various species of marine phytoplankton. The students then apply what they've learned to create and analyze a chromatogram of a mystery "algal" sample to determine which species of phytoplankton are in the sample based on the pigments present. This activity simulates phytoplankton community analysis research done using High Performance Liquid Chromatography at VIMS.
Physical Science / Chemistry
Sequence CSI: The Nitrogen Cycle
This lesson invites students to work together to identify a mystery DNA sample using state of the art biotechnology. After identifying the organism, they can work with another group of students to hypothesize about how the different organisms are related to one another. Students will learn that the samples are connected through the nitrogen cycle! This gives students an introduction to scientific molecular techniques and environmental nitrogen cycling.
Wolffish: A Tale of Missing Teeth
This lesson plan asks students to make observations based on photographs of real specimens from a natural history collection. Students collect data to make graphs, which allow them to compare trends for how different variables impact the ecology of Atlantic Wolffish.
Identifying a spider from coastal Virginia - Biology
Few species of spiders can be considered truly social, but more species, particularly web- building spiders, live in close proximity to one another, potentially gaining benefits by this association. Among these benefits are sharing of frame threads (Kullman 1959), improved defense against predators and parasites (Cangialosi 1990), improved prey capture efficiency (Rypstra 1979 Uetz 1989), and greater egg production (Smith 1983).
Of the three main types of aggregative behaviors exhibited by spiders, the one with the least social interaction involves individuals making and maintaining their own webs within a colonial matrix of interconnected webs (Buskirk 1975). One such species, which has become highly successful through a lifestyle of colonial aggregation, is the orbweaver Cyrtophora citricola Forskål. This species is known as a tentweb spider in Africa (Dippenaar-Schoeman and Jocqué 1997). In 2000, this species was found in southern Florida in Miami-Dade County, north of Homestead. The first published report (Halbert 2000) listed the first two records. Initial spread of this species was reported by Mannion et al. (2002).
Figure 1. Cyrtophora citricola female in cryptic resting pose, showing details of color pattern. Photograph by Ian McGuire, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Distribution (Back to Top)
Cyrtophora citricola is widespread in subtropical and tropical areas of Asia, Africa, Australia, and in the warm coastal Mediterranean areas of Europe (Blanke 1972 Leborgne et al. 1998). It was found in Colombia in 1996 (Levi 1997 Pulido 2002), the Dominican Republic in 1999 (Alayón 2001), Florida in 2000, and Cuba in 2003 (Alayón 2003). Survey work was performed August 2000, April 2001, and July 2002 to document the spread of the species in Florida. The survey was focused on canal bridges because Cyrtophora citricola has a tendency to make its webs on the guardrails of canal bridges (Figure 6).
The survey work in 2000 established a preliminary periphery of infestation in a narrow band from west of Homestead to northeast of Homestead.
To date, the known distribution of Cyrtophora citricola in Florida is a parallelogram-shaped area from east of the Everglades National Park to the east coast of Florida, bounded on the south by a latitudinal line extending through Homestead, and on the north by a similar line extending through Pinecrest and Coral Gables.
Identification (Back to Top)
Adult female spiders average just over 10 mm in body length and are fairly robust. Males are very small, averaging about 3 mm in length (Levi 1997). Genitalic details are used to distinguish this species from congeners in other parts of the world. Females and males are typically medium brown in color, but may have a darker foliate mark on the dorsum of the abdomen. Both can change the background color of the abdomen from very pale to very dark (Blanke 1972). Florida males often appear black, whereas females vary considerably in overall appearance. Females (Figures 1 and 2), despite their larger size, are very cryptic in color and shape, and sometimes hard to see in the web. They resemble a piece of dead leaf, and may sometimes hide on dead leaves that have fallen into the web. A characteristic of the species that will distinguish it from all other genera in Florida, except Allocyclosa (which has a much smaller female (Levi 1999)), is the horizontally oriented bifurcation at the posterior of the abdomen.
Figure 2. Female Cyrtophora citricola in web-monitoring pose. Photograph by Ian McGuire, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Biology (Back to Top)
Some extensive studies have been conducted on the biology of Cyrtophora citricola, including those from Andalusia (Blanke 1972), Sardinia (Kullman 1958, 1959), Sicily (Leborgne et al. 1998), Gabon (Rypstra 1979), and Colombia (Suárez 1998). Blanke (1972) found that Cyrtophora citricola could not survive when temperatures fell below -1 °C. This species is known to have a lifestyle that varies from existing as solitary individuals to occurring in large colonies of hundreds of individuals (Leborgne et al. 1998). A prerequisite for a colonial existence might be a certain amount of tolerance for conspecifics and is exhibited by Cyrtophora citricola when encountering other individuals on common threads. However, when the personal prey-capture web is invaded by another spider, Cyrtophora individuals will exhibit aggressive behavior (Kullman 1959 Lubin 1974).
These spiders build a horizontal orb web with a dense vertical barrier of silk strands above the orb and a less dense barrier below it. Individuals hang underneath the middle of their own orb web and catch insects that are intercepted by the upper barrier, from which they fall onto the orb. The webs are non-adhesive, so the silk acts only as a temporary restraining device. This is a less efficient web than those that have sticky spirals, so living in an aggregation of webs is advantageous by potentially increasing the number of prey that hit the web (Rypstra 1979 Uetz 1989). Leborgne et al.(1998) found that spiders that lived in colonies had smaller webs than those that were solitary, but they caught an equal amount and size of prey as solitary individuals therefore it appeared that the colonial webs were indeed more efficient.
Figure 3. Female Cyrtophora citricola with two eggsacs. Photograph by Ian McGuire, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Eggsacs (Figure 3) have a flattened, elliptical shape, are about 12-20 mm in greatest diameter, and have a bluish or greenish tinge. They are laid in a long chain of up to 10 eggsacs above the web. The newest eggsacs are closest to the web. Eggsacs average 112-157 eggs depending on the year&rsquos productivity and lifestyle (colonial or solitary) of the mother (Leborgne et al. 1998). Colonies in Florida appear to form around a single female, with the young attaching their webs to the mother&rsquos web rather than dispersing. Colonies can be several square meters in area and cover entire trees (e.g., of Citrus spp.).
Other spider species can be found associated with Cyrtophora citricola colonies. Some are other orbweaving spiders that use the framework and benefit from other advantages provided by these aggregations. In Florida, such species include Mecynogea lemniscata (Walckenaer), Metepeira labyrinthea (Hentz), and Trichonephila clavipes (L.). Several kleptoparasitic species of Argyrodes also have been found in these colonies. Elsewhere (Leborgne et al. 1998), Cyrtophora citricola colonies are victimized by Argyrodes argyrodes (Walckenaer) [sub Argyrodes gibbosus (Lucas)], which steal prey and eat unguarded Cyrtophora eggs, and by pholcid spiders (Holocnemus pluchei (Scopoli)), which use the colony communal network to attach their own webs, and attack juveniles and adults of Cyrtophora citricola (Blanke 1972 Leborgne et al. 1998). Leborgne et al. (1998) reported that another benefit for Cyrtophora citricola living in a colony was a lower number of kleptoparasitic spiders per web in colonies vs. solitary webs, although Rypstra (1979) noted that larger colonies attracted more predators and kleptoparasites. When attacked, Cyrtophora citricola will drop several centimeters on a dragline and resume a cryptic pose, or drop to the ground where its color blends in with the soil and litter, or retreat to a sheltered area if available, where it will attempt to hide (e.g., behind a guard rail post).
Hosts (Back to Top)
The following plants cannot be considered true hosts, as the spiders do not feed on them. However, these plants have been documented as being used for web attachment (Figures 4 and 5), therefore they are subject to potential damage by heavy spider populations. Florida hosts include akee, Blighia sapida K. Koenig Australian brush-cherry, Syzygium paniculatum Gaertn. balsam apple, Clusia rosea Jacq. Barbados cherry, Malpighia glabra L. beggarticks, Bidens sp. gardenia, Gardenia augusta (L.) Merr. grapefruit, Citrus x paradisi Macfad. a hedge plant, Eugenia coronata Schumach. & Thonn. lime, Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle mamey sapote, Pouteria sapota (Jacq.) H. E. Moore & Stearn mango, Mangifera indica L. orange, Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck pygmy date palm, Phoenix roebelenii O'Brien sausage tree, Kigelia africana (Lam.) Benth. and weeping fig, Ficus benjamina L. Hosts documented in Colombia (Pulido 2002) include acacia, Acacia sp. almond, Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D. A. Webb araucaria, Araucaria sp. banana, Musa acuminata Colla cacao, Theobroma cacao L. caucho, Clusia sp. cedro (Spanish cedar), Cedrela odorata L. chiminango, Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. eucalyptus, Eucalyptus sp. ficus, Ficus sp. fique, Agave sp. guanábana, Annona muricata L. guava, Psidium guajava L. lemon, Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f. madroño, Garcinia madruno (kunth) B. Hammell. mango, Mangifera indica L. maracuyá (passion fruit), Passiflora sp. matarraton, Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth ex Walp. orange, Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck plantain, Musa x paradisiaca L. swinglea, Swinglea glutinosa (Blanco) Merr. totumo (calabash), Crescentia cujete L. veranera, Bougainvillea sp. and yuca, Manihot esculenta Crantz. Coffee, Coffea arabica L. (Cárdenas-Murillo et al. 1997), also has been reported from Colombia as a substrate for Cyrtophora citricola. It is likely that any plant providing the appropriate substrate to support a web framework could be colonized.
Figure 4. Extensive covering of Cyrtophora citricola webbing on upper half of Eugenia coronata. Photograph by G.B. Edwards, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Figure 5. Colony of Cyrtophora citricola filling space between palm leaves. Photograph by G.B. Edwards, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Figure 6. Colony of Cyrtophora citricola on guardrail of canal bridge. Note the string of five eggsacs in the right middle of the picture, just above a horizontal web. Photograph by G.B. Edwards, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Economic Importance (Back to Top)
Possibly, Cyrtophora citricola is both beneficial and deleterious. Undoubtedly, the cover of webs on a plant would capture pest insects associated with that plant. However, multiple observations have been reported of leaf loss (Figure 7), terminal twig dieback (Figure 8), and sometimes plant death, allegedly due to asphyxiation of the plant, where heavy populations of this spider have become established (Levi 1997). It has been proposed that the extensive web cover absorbs the sun&rsquos radiation and raises the temperature, causing the leaves and young fruit to desiccate (Cárdenas-Murillo et al. 1997). This seems unlikely per se, as the white silk would seem to reflect sunlight rather than absorb it. A suggestion worth investigating is that the density of the webbing might restrict air flow over the leaves, with the same result of raising the temperature (Richard Weaver, personal communication 2003). Palms seem to be resistant to the damage caused to plants with small leaves.
Figure 7. Dead leaves accumulated in Cyrtophora citricola webbing on Eugenia coronata. Photograph by G.B. Edwards, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Figure 8. Multiple dead twigs due to Cyrtophora citricola webbing on Eugenia coronata. Photograph by G.B. Edwards, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Control (Back to Top)
Mechanical control is recommended on a small scale (Pulido 2002). Chemical controls will depend on labeling for the type of plant and for spiders. Because of the amount of debris that accumulates in affected plants, chemical control is likely to be unreliable due to incomplete coverage. While this might be overcome by high pressure sprayers, pressure spraying using only water was found to facilitate dispersal of the spiders (Pulido 2002).
Acknowledgments: I thank Julieta Brambila, José Diaz, Luz Lastra and Dr. Richard Weaver, all Division of Plant Industry, and Dr. Catherine Mannion, University of Florida, Tropical Research and Education Center, Homestead, for various types of assistance on this publication.
Selected References (Back to Top)
- Alayón GG. 2001. Presencia de Cyrtophora citricola (Forskal, 1775) (Araneae: Araneidae) en las Antilles. Revista Ibérica de Arachnología 4: 9-10.
- Alayón GG. 2003. Cyrtophora citricola (Araneae: Araneidae), registro neuvo de araña para Cuba. Cocuyo 13: 14.
- Blanke R. 1972. Field studies on the ecology and ethology of Cyrtophora citricola Araneidae in Andalusia. Forma et Funcio 5: 125-206.
- Buskirk RE. 1975. Coloniality, activity patterns and feeding in a tropical orb-weaving spider. Ecology 56: 1314-1328.
- Cangialosi KR. 1990. Social spider defense against kleptoparasitism. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 27: 49-54.
- Cárdenas-Murillo R, Posada-Flórez FJ, Bustillo-Pardey AE. 1997. Daños causados por arañas en los cafetales. Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, Cenicafé Avances Técnicos 242. 4 p.
- Dippenaar-Schoeman AS, Jocqué R. 1997. African Spiders, an Identification Manual. Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook No. 9. Biosystematics Division, ARC-Plant Protection Research Institute, Pretoria, South Africa. 392 p.
- Halbert SE. 2000. Arthropod Detection. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Tri-ology 39: 7.
- Kullman E. 1958. Beobachtung des Netzbaues und Beiträge zur Biologie von Cyrtophora citricola Forskal (Araneae, Araneidae). Zoologische Jahrbücher Abteilung für Systematik, Ökologie und Geographie der Tiere 86: 181-216.
- Kullman E. 1959. Beobachtungen an der Raumnetzspinne Cyrtophora citricola Forskal auf Sardinien (Araneae, Araneidae). Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 6 III: 65-80.
- Leborgne R, Cantarella T, Pasquet A. 1998. Colonial life versus solitary life in Cyrtophora citricola (Araneae, Araneidae). Insectes Sociaux 45: 125-134.
- Levi HW. 1997. The American orb weavers of the genera Mecynogea, Manogea, Kapogea, and Cyrtophora (Araneae: Araneidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 155: 215-255.
- Levi HW. 1999. The Neotropical and Mexican orb weavers of the genera Cyclosa and Allocyclosa (Araneae: Araneidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 155: 299-379.
- Lubin YD. 1974. Adaptative advantages and the evolution of colony formation in Cyrtophora (Araneae, Araneidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 54: 321-339.
- Mannion C, Amalin D, Peña J, Edwards GB. 2002. A new spider in Miami-Dade County: Cyrtophora citricola. University of Florida Extension, Horticultural Newsletter 2: 3.
- Pulido FJI. 2002. Manejo de la araña del Mediterraneo o araña parda enredadora. Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario report. 5p.
- Rypstra AL. 1979. Foraging flocks of spiders. A study of aggregate behaviour in Cyrtophora citricola Forskål (Araneae: Araneidae) in West Africa. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 5: 291-300.
- Smith D. 1983. Ecological costs and benefits of communal behavior in a presocial spider. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 13: 107-114.
- Suárez OYS. 1998. Identificación taxonómica, observación sobre la biología y comportamiento de Cyrtophora citricola Forskal (Arachnida: Araneidae). Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Agronomy Engineer thesis. 49 p.
- Uetz GW. 1989. The "ricochet effect" and prey capture in colonial spiders. Oecologia 81: 154-159.
Author: G.B. Edwards, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry
Originally published as DPI Entomology Circular 411
Photographs: Ian McGuire, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry
Web Design: Don Wasik, Jane Medley
Publication Number: EENY-535
Publication Date: August 2012. Reviewed: February 2019.
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Featured Creatures Editor and Coordinator: Dr. Elena Rhodes, University of Florida
Spiderlings are born helpless, depending on their mother for protection. Instantly after they crawl out of their silken case, they clamber up the legs of their mother, crowding on the underside of its abdomen. The female spider would then carry the young ones for a few weeks until they are large enough to be independent and defend themselves.
Carolina Wolf Spider Spiderlings