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Black spider identification

Black spider identification


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Location is in Canada / Ottawa

I did a web search, but I can't figure out what species it is.


This is very likely an araneid (or Orb-weaver spider) in the family Araneidae.

Without further evidence/details, it's hard to narrow down to a species.

One possibility is Larinioides sclopetarius (the bridge spider or gray cross spider).

Source: Ed Nieuwenhuys

Source: Eurospiders.com

  • Description:

    Prosoma grey to grey-brown. Opisthosoma grey to grey-brown, dorsally with pronounced, white margined pattern. [Source: University of Bern]

    • See University of Bern for detailed drawings of anatomical structures.
  • Size: females = 10-14 mm ; males = 8-9 mm.
  • Web: orb webs can have diameters of up to 70 cm.
  • Ecology: often lives on briges or near water; often found on steel structures.
  • Range: holoarctic including Ottawa, Canada


What it's NOT

Although visually similar, this is not Nuctenea umbratica (walnut orb-weaver)

Source

  • This species is confined to Europe, Asia and Africa.

The specimen is also unlikely Larinioides ixobolus, which generally has a black outline (vs white) on their backs And is constrained to Europe/Asia:

Source


Possibly incorrect, but it looks like some kind of orb weaver - from the shape of the abdomen and the posture, it's very similar to a lot of orb weavers and potentially is in the Araneus genus.

I don't think it's this species, but you can perhaps see the similarities; http://www.spiders.us/species/araneus-diadematus/#more_pictures

It could also be an immature, hard to know :/


Black spider identification - Biology

In early August 1996, a large black spider with red hairs on its abdomen was collected by citrus grove workers in St. Lucie County, Florida, west of Ft. Pierce. The workers gave the spider to a citrus survey crew, who brought it back to Gainesville. The first author examined the specimen (which was only half grown) and tentatively identified it as Brachypelma vagans (Ausserer), a species known to be commonly imported by the pet trade under assorted common names (Central American, Guatemalan, Honduran, or Mexican black velvet tarantulas). The accepted common name is Mexican redrump tarantula (Breene 1995).

About a week later, a female and several young spiders were unearthed by grove workers in the same area. Subsequently, several survey expeditions led by the second author captured or destroyed about 100 specimens of all ages from small spiderlings to adult females and males. One of these males was sent to Rick C. West, a tarantula expert and research associate of the Royal British Columbia Museum, for identification. Mr. West confirmed that this species was B. vagans (personal communication 1996). He also noted that the species had been commonly imported into Miami since the early 1970s.

Figure 1. Female Mexican redrump tarantula, Brachypelma vagans. Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz, Division of Plant Industry.

Distribution (Back to Top)

Mexican redrumps were reported from Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico (Baxter 1993 Smith 1986), but were omitted as a component of the Costa Rican fauna (Valerio 1980). It is now known to occur naturally from Veracruz and the Yucatan Peninsula south along the Gulf coast to northeastern Costa Rica (R.C. West, personal communication 1996).

In Florida, a population was found in a 40-acre citrus grove bordered by irrigation canals on the south and west. The tarantula population initially seemed to be restricted to about one acre in the southwest corner of the grove. Concurrent reports of specimens from the northeast corner of the grove could not be substantiated. Subsequent surveys have found them in burrows along about one half mile of the east bank of the irrigation canal bordering the west side of the grove, as well as a lesser eastern extension along the canal bordering the southern edge of the grove. Wandering males have been found as far as 0.9 miles from the main population site. Later reports from nearby sites have not been verified with specimens, even though extensive surveys have been conducted in the area (to 1.0 mile east and west, 2.5 miles north, 4.0 miles south).

Biology (Back to Top)

Like most tarantulas, the biology of B. vagans is poorly known (Carter 1997). Adult females are 5.0 to 7.5 cm in body length, with a leg span up to 13.5 cm. Adult males are slightly shorter with a much smaller abdomen. The spiders are entirely black except for the long red to reddish-brown hairs on the dorsum of the abdomen females also have reddish-brown hairs on legs III and IV (Baxter 1993). It is a fossorial species (i.e., it digs burrows) adult burrows are 4 to 5 cm in diameter and about 45 cm deep.

Mexican redrumps are nocturnal predators, feeding on ground-dwelling arthropods and possibly on small vertebrates (see Marshall 1996). The enemies of adult tarantulas in Florida likely consist primarily of small predatory mammals, whereas the young tarantulas also would be vulnerable to other arthropod predators, particularly other large terrestrial spiders, as well as frogs and toads. Like most other New World tarantulas, B. vagans defends itself against vertebrate predators with special urticating hairs on its abdomen. If these hairs get on the skin, they itch like bits of fiberglass, but if they get into mucus membranes and especially the eyes, much discomfort or injury could ensue. This species has not been reported to possess a bite serious to people (Breene et al. 1996).

In Florida, males and females with young seemed to be most prevalent in the autumn, although specimens of all sizes can be found year-round. This is unquestionably due to the fact that individuals of this species live for many years. Individuals of some species in this genus are thought to live at least 25 years in the wild, and longer in captivity. Although some congeners are thought to take five to seven years to mature, B. vagans can be raised to adult in captivity in two to three years (Baxter 1993).

Females make large silken eggsacs 4-5 cm in diameter, and the spiderlings stay with the mother for up to several weeks before they disperse. Four captured females made eggsacs in the laboratory, averaging about 100 young per eggsac, although as many as 300 have been reported for this species (Moore 1994), with unpublished reports as high as 800 (Y. Evanou, personal communication 1998).

The establishment of this species in Florida is not surprising. Parts of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico are somewhat similar in soil type, vegetation type, and climate to areas of central Florida. We will probably never know exactly how this species came to be introduced into this particular area. One early hypothesis was that a single gravid female escaped or was released. This was based on the fact that one of the earliest captured specimens molted into a deformed male in the laboratory, and it was suspected that the deformity was caused by inbreeding. Since then, many more perfectly normal specimens have been captured, and it is now thought that the specimen was deformed because it was injured during capture.

It is likely that this population has been in this location for over ten years, indirectly supporting the allegation that several specimens were released by a commercial pet importer or breeder at this locality during the 1970s. A reliable sighting of an adult male in 1989 by a pair of herpetologists looking for reptiles along an adjacent paved road was reported in October 1996, after the discovery of this tarantula in Florida was publicized. Given the known maturation time of this species, this would mean that a population has been in the area since at least 1986.

Why they have not become more widespread is not understood, but tarantulas are known to be habitat restricted in the wild and they do not disperse very far (Gertsch 1979). The area where they are established seems to provide the tarantulas with an abundance of food, water, and proper soil to burrow in, so there does not appear to be a need for them to widely disperse. However, the potential for the species to become widespread in Florida given enough time cannot be discounted. The environment of Florida has been plagued by the destructive establishment of exotic organisms for many years (Thomas 1995).

Although the ultimate effect of a naturalized tarantula in Florida cannot at this time be accurately predicted, it would be irresponsible to assume that they will not have a deleterious effect on native wildlife. With this in mind, eradication has been attempted, so far unsuccessfully. If these efforts do not succeed, we still will be able to track the spread of this species and monitor its impact on the environment.

Selected References (Back to Top)

  • Baxter RN. 1993. Keeping and Breeding Tarantulas. Chudleigh Publishing, Essex, England. 89 pp.
  • Breene RG. 1995. Common Names of Arachnids 1995. American Tarantula Society, Publisher. South Padre Island, Texas. 94 pp.
  • Breene RG, Dean DA, Cokendolpher JC, Reger BH. 1996. Tarantulas of Texas: Their medical importance, and world-wide bibliography to the Theraphosidae (Araneae). American Tarantula Society, Publisher. South Padre Island, Texas. 73 pp.
  • Carter N. 1997. Who's on CITES and why? Forum of the American Tarantula Society 6: 172-173.
  • Gertsch WJ. 1979. American Spiders. 2nd ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York. 274 pp.
  • Marshall SD. 1996. Old dog learns new trick. Forum of the American Tarantula Society 5: 114-116.
  • Moore BH. 1994. Red rumped cannibals. Forum of the American Tarantula Society 3: 14-15.
  • Smith A. 1986. The Tarantula: Classification and Identification Guide. Fitzgerald Publishing, London. 178 pp.
  • Thomas MC. 1995. Invertebrate pets and the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Florida Entomologist 78: 39-44.
  • Valerio CE. 1980. Arañas terafosidas de Costa Rica (Araneae, Theraphosidae). I. Sericopelma y Brachypelma. Brenesia 18: 259-288.

Authors: G.B. Edwards and K.L. Hibbard, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Originally published as DPI Entomology Circular 394
Photograph: Jeffrey Lotz, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Web Design: Don Wasik, Jane Medley
Publication Number: EENY-287
Publication Date: May 2003. Reviewed: December 2017. Reviewed: February 2021 .

An Equal Opportunity Institution
Featured Creatures Editor and Coordinator: Dr. Elena Rhodes, University of Florida


Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes

The golden silk spider is found throughout Florida and the southeastern United States. The female is distinctively colored, and is among the largest orb-weaving spiders in the country. The female is 25 mm to 40 mm long and has conspicuous hair tufts on her long legs. Males are about 4 mm to 6 mm long, dark-brown, and are often found in the webs of females. These spiders feed primarily on flying insects, which they catch in webs that may be greater than a meter in diameter. They are most commonly found in forests, along trails and at clearing edges.


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Myth: Tarantulas are dangerous to humans

Fact: Outside of southern Europe (where the name is used for a wolf spider, famous in medieval superstition as the alleged cause of "tarantella" dancing), the word tarantula is most often used for the very large, furry spiders of the family Theraphosidae.

Hollywood is squarely to blame for these spiders' toxic-to-humans reputation. Tarantulas are large, photogenic and many are easily handled, and therefore they have been very widely used in horror and action-adventure movies. When some "venomous" creature is needed to menace James Bond or Indiana Jones, to invade a small town in enormous numbers, or to grow to gigantic size and prowl the Arizona desert for human prey, the special-effects team calls out the tarantulas!

In reality, the venom of these largest-of-all-spiders generally has very low toxicity to humans. I myself was once bitten by a Texan species and hardly even felt it. None of the North American species or those commonly kept as pets are considered to pose even a mild bite hazard. There have now been a few credible reports of moderate illness from the bites of a few African and Asian species that are definitely not standard pet store material. However, other people bitten by these same species reported no more than an initial "ouch" and perhaps a little muscle cramping.

The only health hazard posed by keeping common pet tarantulas comes from the irritating hairs of the abdomen (in New World species), which can cause skin rashes or inflammation of eyes and nasal passages. To prevent such problems, simply keep tarantulas away from your face and wash your hands after handling one.

Compared to common pets such as dogs, tarantulas are not dangerous at all. (For more information, see the American Tarantula Society).

Not dangerous to humans

Both the European wolf spiders originally called tarantulas, and the theraphosid spiders, often kept as pets and called tarantulas now, have been reputed dangerous to humans. They aren't.

"Everything that 'everybody knows' about spiders is wrong!" —Rod Crawford sets the record straight with Spider Myths.


Crab Spider

Most crab spiders are less than 1 cm (0.4 in) in length, although the giant crab spider may reach 2.5 cm (1.0 in). Crab spiders do not spin webs to trap prey, but hunt on the open ground or on vegetation or flowers. In this, they resemble other free-living spiders such as jumping spiders and wolf spiders. Unlike other free-living spiders, however, all of a crab spider's eyes are small and serve primarily as motion detectors. Typical crab spiders are predators that lie in wait to ambush their prey. Though their chelicerae, or jaws, are rather small and slender, many crab spiders possess potent venoms that quickly immobilize their prey. Flower spiders, a particular type of crab spider, rest on flowers and remain motionless for long periods of time with their front two pairs of legs extended in readiness. They ambush butterflies, bees, flies, and other flower visitors their venoms enable them to successfully attack insects much larger than themselves. They do not wrap their prey in silk after biting, but instead remain with the immobilized prey until they have sucked it dry.

In keeping with their ambush style of attack, many crab spiders are well camouflaged, blending in with their backgrounds. Some resemble tree bark, leaves, or fruits others appear to mimic bird droppings. Some of the flower spiders are able to change their color over several days, typically between white and yellow, depending on the color of the flower on which they are resting. A common North American species is the goldenrod spider. The giant cockroach hunter is a warm-climate species which often moves northward on shipments of bananas.

Scientific classification: Common crab spiders are classified in the spider families Thomisidae and Philodromidae. Giant crab spiders, including the cockroach hunter, Heteropoda venatoria, are in the family Theridiosomatidae. The goldenrod spider is Misumena vatia, family Thomisidae.


Black fly bites

Black flies can be a serious problem because they bite. When black flies are active they can develop into very large swarms.

  • Black flies use blade-like mouthparts to slash the skin and feed on blood.
  • Bites are concentrated on exposed areas of skin, especially along the hairline, feet, ankles and arms.
  • Bites can produce reactions from small red spots and little or no irritation to a lot of irritation and swelling.
  • Sensitivity varies from person to person.
  • Black flies can attack many different domestic and wild animals, including birds.
  • In extreme circumstances, black fly bites have killed animals through severe blood loss.

Sometimes black flies are nuisances by just swarming around people without biting. Because they like to swarm around heads, they might crawl into the nose, ears, eyes and mouth.

Behavior and habits

  • Black flies are most active a couple of hours after sunrise and a couple of hours before sunset.
  • They are most active on calm days and in sheltered areas (wooded areas).
  • They are less of a nuisance on windy days and in open areas.
  • Black flies are attracted to dark colors such as navy blue.

Can black flies spread disease?

In Minnesota, black flies are not known to spread diseases. In other parts of the world, they can spread serious diseases. ​​​​​​


Black spider identification - Biology

KINGDOM: Animalia | PHYLUM: Arthropoda | CLASS: Arachnida | ORDER: Araneae | FAMILY: Theridiidae (cobweb spiders)

The main difference: webs made by cobweb spiders appear messy and disorganized, unlike the organized, circular webs made by orb-weavers and many other web-building spiders. In addition, cobweb spiders often have abdomens that are comparatively larger and more spherical than orb-weavers. Cobweb spiders have 8 eyes and (like all spiders), they have 8 legs, 2 body parts, and fang-like mouthparts called "chelicerae."


Black widow spider with eggsac (B. Newton, 2004)

Most cobweb spiders are considered beneficial to humans. They eat flies, mosquitoes, and other creatures. However, The black widow spider is a cobweb spider, and its bite can be dangerous. Read more about black widow and other common spiders of medical significance by visiting our ENTfact: Common Spiders Found Around Homes and Buildings .

No other Kentucky cobweb spiders are known to have venom that is medically significant to humans (remember, though, that all spiders can be dangerous if a person is allergic or sensitive to spiders and insects).

BLACK WIDOWS
GENUS: Latrodectus
Black Widows, with their shiny black bodies and bright red markings, are among our most distinctive cobweb spiders. Below left is a female black widow. The male is below right. Males have a more vibrant pattern on their abdomen than females, with many red and white spots. Male black widow spiders are rarely encountered, and are not known to bite humans. There are two species of black widow found in Kentucky, the Northern and Southern Black Widow. Both species have shiny black bodies with red markings, and both are in the genus Latrodectus. Black widows are fairly large cobweb spiders, with body lengths up to about 1/2."


Female Black Widow Spider (R. Bessin, 2000)
Male Black Widow Spider (B. Newton, 2004)

AMERICAN HOUSE SPIDER
GENUS and SPECIES: Parasteatoda tepidariorum
The American House Spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum (previously Achaearanea tepidariorum), also called the Common House Spider, is a typical cobweb spider. It is also one of the most commonly encountered cobweb spiders in urban areas, and can be found in almost every garage, barn, and attic in Kentucky. It is harmless, and it catches and eats flies, mosquitoes, and other pests that enter buildings. It is an average-sized cobweb spider, with a body length up to about 1 cm.

THERIDULA sp.
GENUS: Theridula
Pictured below is a tiny (5 mm) cobweb spider in the Theridula genus. It is commonly found under leaves in meadows and other sunny, weedy habitats. We have other spiders in this genus as well. Most have similar patterns and body shapes, but with different color combinations. One species has a yellow spot on a red background, with black legs.


Cobweb spider in the Theridula genus (B. Newton 2003)

Spintharus flavidus
GENUS and SPECIES: Spintharus flavidus
While many types of cobweb spiders have predominantly dark coloration, a few species are brightly colored.Pictured below is Spintharus flavidus, a medium-sized (body apx 5mm long) cobweb spider that is found in low vegetation and at the woods edge. It has vivid black, red, and yellow markings on the abdomen, while the body color ranges from pale yellow to bright yellow-green. This image was taken at the Land Between The Lakes area by John Hewlett from Murray State University in August 2017.


Spintharus flavidus with prey (J. Hewlett, 2017)

Cobweb spiders are very common in all kinds of vegetation. They can also be found near buildings. Cobweb spiders and orb weavers often inhabit the same types of habitats. If anything, cobweb spiders may be more common and easier to find than orb-weavers, especially around buildings and other man-made structures.

As long as you do not disturb them, cobweb spiders will remain still for a photograph. Remember: no spider should ever be picked up by hand. All spiders are best preserved in alcohol.

Although many kinds of web-building spiders are able to chew their food, cobweb spiders are only able to suck fluids out of their prey.

It is widely believed that black widow females always eat males after mating. Although this sometimes happens, black widow males are often able to escape before being eaten. Sometimes, the female makes no attempt to eat the male.

Photos courtesy R. Bessin and B. Newton, University of Kentucky
The Kentucky Critter Files are maintained by Blake Newton, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky.
Contact: blaken@uky.edu


Watch the video: Kovacs - Black Spider Official Video (November 2022).