Home Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

           

    

Spiders (order Araneae, class Arachnida, subphylum Chelicerata, phylum Arthropoda, superphylum Protostomia, subkingdom Metazoa, kingdom Animalia, domain Eukarya)     Discussion of Taxonomy Source Choices    

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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.

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 Schimming'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.  My favorite page about spiders in general is Ed Nieuwenhuys' page describing how spiders weave silk.

Spiders have some natural enemies.  One 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.

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).  There is much concern and some myths about the Hobo Spider (Tegenaria agrestis), an Agelenidae family member.

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 ~5400 feet.

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.

In any case, feel free to contact us or write to the forum and comments page.

Purseweb Spiders (Sphodros genus, Atypidae family, Mygalomorphae suborder)

Mygalomorphs are generally large spiders; though they seem to be the species most likely to inspire arachnophobia, all of the US species are harmless to humans.  True Tarantulas (family Theraphosidae) are members of this suborder; some are found in the Southwestern US.

The Atypidae are sometimes known as "atypical tarantulas."  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.  

Trapdoor Spiders (Ctenizidae family, Mygalomorphae suborder)

     
Trapdoor spider, Hope Mills, NC.  Photo taken by Samantha Adkins-Witmill. Same trapdoor spider.  Photo also taken by Samantha Adkins-Whitmill      

Folding-door Spiders (Antrodiaetus genus, 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        

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.          

Common Orb Weavers (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)

Araneus Genus Eye Arrangement (Schimming): 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 (Schimming)

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).

Spiny 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.

Micrathena gracilis

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.      

Micrathena mitrata

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. Mason Farm Biological Reserve, 9/8/05.  The two spines are not obvious here. Micrathena mitrata, ventral view.  Riverbend Park, Catawba County, NC, 9/24/09

Arrow-shaped Micrathenas (Micrathena sagittata)

Arrow-shaped Micrathena (Micrathena sagittata), 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 found in the same general area. Arrow-shaped Micrathena (Micrathena sagittata), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC,  8/12/08

Crablike Spiny Orb Weavers (Gasterocantha 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 (Verrucosa arenata), Indian Creek Wildlife Observationa Trail, Chatham County, NC,  8/2/05 Triangulate Orb Weaver, Little River Park, Orange County, NC, 10/20/07 Triangulate Orb Weaver (Verrucosa arenata), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC,  9/18/05. Triangulate Orb Weaver (Verrucosa arenata), White Pines Nature Preserve, Chatham County, NC, 9/25/05.  ID based on the State of Missouri's spiders page.

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.

Araneus marmoreus (Marbled Orb Weavers)

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

       
Araneus bicentenarius, Great Smoky Mountains.  Photo taken by "Vicki."  A very big spider.        

Araneus miniatus

         
Orb weaver (Araneus miniatus), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 1/19/13 Orb weaver (Araneus miniatus), Durham, NC, 10/22/13 Orb weaver (male Araneus miniata), Durham, NC, 2/3/13 Male orb weaver (Araneus miniatus), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 1/19/13          

Araneus guttulatus
       
Araneus guttulatus, Durham, NC, 6/14/08.  A very tiny spider, about 2 mm long.        

Araneus cingulatus

A tiny and very varied species: see BugGuide's collection:

     
Araneus cingulatus, Louisville, Kentucky, 9/24/10. Photo taken by John Nation. Araneus cingulatus, Holly Springs, NC, 10/25/10.  Photo by Jason W.      

Araneus alboventris

   
Orb weaver (Araneus alboventris), Durham, NC, 7/4/13  

Araneus bivittatus

         
Orb weaver (Araneus bivittatus), Durham, NC, 8/21/13          

Araniella genus, Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae

         
Orb weaver (Araniella displicata). ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban
         

Neoscona genus members (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder

Neoscona crucifera

Hentz Orb Weaver (Neoscona crucifera) attacking a leaf that had fallen in its web. Durham, NC, 10/17/12 Spider (Neoscona crucifera), dorsal view, Durham, 9/28/08 Orb weaver (Neoscona crucifera), Durham, NC, 8/14/07.  Spider (Neoscona crucifera), ventral view, Durham, 9/28/08

Neoscona domiciliorum

         
Orb weaver (Neoscona domiciliorum), Pettigrew State Park, Washington County, NC, 11/11/10.  Dorsal view.   Orb weaver (Neoscona domiciliorum), ventral view, White Pines Natural Area, Chatham County, 9/25/05.  Maybe another male. Orb weaver (Neoscona domiciliorum), Johnston's Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 8/25/05. Dorsal view.   Orb weaver (Neoscona domiciliorum), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/9/09 Orb weaver (Neoscona domiciliorum), side view, Durham, NC, 8/30/06      

Neoscona arabesca

   
Orb weaver (Neoscona arabesca), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 6/15/07 Orb weaver (Neoscona arabesca), Pettigrew State Park, Washington County, NC, 11/11/10   Orb weaver (Neoscona arabesca), Durham, 7/6/05 Orb weaver (Neoscona arabesca), Durham, NC, 5/29/08  

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. 

             
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 Argiope, Holly Springs, NC, 10/25/10.  Photo by Jason W.  

 

       
A long view of a Yellow-and-black Garden Spider, Ozark, Missouri, 8/12/10.  Photo by Susi Meredith.        

Mangora genus, Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder

Mangora placida

     
Orb weaver (probably Mangora placida), dorsal view.  Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 3/30/07 Orb weaver (probably 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  

Mangora maculata

   
Mangora maculata, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 8/31/07.  This may be the same species as the spider on the left. Mangora maculata, Durham, NC, 8/1/07.  This appears to be the same species as the spider on the immediate left.  Genus ID thanks to Jeff Hollenbeck.  Species ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban. Mangora maculata, ventral view.  Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 8/17/05    

Mangora gibberosa

         
Orb weaver (Mangora gibberosa), Durham, NC, 9/6/12          

Mangora acalypha

       
Mangora acalypha, Finnmark County, Norway, 2010.  On the red list.  Photo by Roy Erling Wrånes.        

Acacesia hamata (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)

Acacesia hamata, Durham, 7/18/05.  ID provided by John and Jane Balaban. Spider, (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.

Gea heptagon (Araneidae family, Araneoidea superfamily, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)

Female orb weaver (Gea heptagon), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 11/14/10 Male 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. 

Basilica spider, Durham, NC, 7/6/09.  Note the distinguishing green stripe on the side of the abdomen.  Basilica Spider, American Tobacco Trail, Durham, NC, 6/29/09 Basilica Spider, Durham, NC, 7/1/08.  The dominant color on the side of the abdomen is yellow. 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.

 

Female Basilica Spider, Durham, 6/30/05, wrapping up its prey.  The green stripe is present, but hard to see. Basilica Spiders.  The large spider approached the smaller spider. Basilica Spiders.  The smaller spider let the big spider touch it with two feet for a second or two, then they quickly separated.  No accounting for taste (pun intended!)

Larinoides cornutus

 
Larinoides cornutus, Finnmark County, Norway, 1/30/11.  Photo by Roy Erling Wrånes.  

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 (Nephila clavipes), Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 9/16/07.  These are different views of the same spider: ventral, side and dorsal.


         
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 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. Golden Silk Spider, Theodore Roosevelt State Natural Area Nature Trail, Pine Knoll Shores, Carteret County, NC  7/23/08 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)

Tetragnathidae Eye Arrangement (Schimming)

Elongate Long-jawed Orb Weavers (Tetragnatha elongata)

These spiders are so named because of their unusually large chelicerae, more familiarly known as "fangs," which contain venom-producing glands and end in hollow spikes through which they deliver their venom. 

Elongate Long-jawed Orb Weaver,
Durham, NC, 8/21/09
Elongate Long-jawed Orb Weaver, Durham, NC, 6/13/05.  This same Elongate Long-jawed Orb Weaver sought cover on a form of swamp grass, using impressive camouflage.

Long-jawed Orb Weavers (Tetragnatha versicolor)

   
Long-jawed orb weaver (Tetragnatha genus), 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 Weavers (Tetragnatha viridus)

         
Long-jawed orb weaver (Tetragnatha viridis), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 11/19/12          

Pachygnatha genus

 
Pachygnatha degeeri, Finnmark County, Arctic Norway, 1/30/11.  Photo by Roy Erling Wrånes. A thick-jawed orb weaver (Pachygnatha genus), Durham, NC, 4/8/14. ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban. Same spider, but a frontal view  

Orchard Spiders (Leucage venusta)

Some very beautiful small spiders are easily overlooked.  Orchard Spiders are about 3 mm long (excluding legs) at maturity.  Their appearance varies widely with region.

Orchard Spider with prey, Moses Cone Memorial Park, Watauga County, NC, 7/18/13 Orchard Spider, Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 9/17/07 Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 5/27/09 Orchard Spider, Audubon Swamp Garden, Charleston County, SC, 10/11/07.  Another Orchard Spider,  Audubon Swamp, Charleston County, SC 10/11/07


         
Orchard Spider, Durham, NC, 9/19/12.  Dorsal view Orchard Spider, Goose Creek State Park, Beaufort County, NC, 9/20/08.  Dorsal view. Orchard Spider, Durham, 6/17/05.  Dorsal view.          

Comb-footed Spiders (Theridiidae family, Theridioidea, Araneoid sheetweb weavers, Reduced pyriform clade, Derived Araneoids, Araneoidea, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)  Theridiidae Eye Arrangement (Schimming)

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 (Achaearanea tepidariorum) attacking a Marbled Orb Weaver, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, 7/15/06 American House Spider (Achaearanea tepidariorum) 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

Dewdrop spiders (Argyrodes genus)

         
Dewdrop spider (Argyrodes genus) with orb weaver prey.  Species may be elevatus. Dewdrop spider (Argyrodes genus) attacking orb weaver prey          

Theridion pictipes

 
Male comb-footed spider (Theridion pictipes), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 5/17/13 Comb-footed spider (Theridion pictipes), Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 5/31/07.   ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban.  

Theridion murarium

       
Cobweb spider, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 7/26/13        

Asagena americana

       
Cobweb spider (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 (Latrodectus geometricus), Lakeland, FL, 11/28/10.  Copyright © 2010 Noella T. Martell Segura.          

False Black Widow (Steatoda grossa)

         
False Black Widow (Steatoda grossa), venomous but less dangerous than black widows. Durham, NC, 12/30/05.          

Steatoda bipunctata

 
Steatoda bipunctata, Finnmark County, Norway, 1/30/11.  Photo by Roy Erling Wrånes.  

Brown Recluse (Loxosceles genus, Sicariidae family, Haplogynae, Araneomorphae suborder)

Sicariidae Eye Arrangement (Schimming): These spiders have only six eyes.

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 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)

Linyphiidae Eye Arrangement (Schimming)

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 spins their webs, in the form of horizontal sheets, near the ground in grasses.

Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver, Durham, NC, 8/6/05, at edge of local swamp, but still deep in swamp grass.  About ¼ inch long.  Black-tailed Red Sheetweaver, same location, 9/3/05.  According to Patrick Moran, this is a male spider; the others are females.  The large pedipalps are the key. 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, Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 4/18/09.  This variant pattern is puzzling, may be due to wear. Female Bowl and Doily Spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, 11/21/07 Female Bowl and Doily Spider, Eno River State Park, 10/18/07 Male Bowl and Doily Spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/12/08 Female Bowl-and-doily Spider on a streetlamp pole, Durham, NC, 11/20/12  

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      

Dwarf Spiders (subfamily Erogoninae)

       
Dwarf spider. Subfamily ID thanks to Lynette Schimming.
     

Diplocephalus cristatus

 
  Diplocephalus cristatus, Finnmark County, Norway, 1/30/11.  Photo by Roy Erling Wrånes.

Ghost Spiders (Anyphaenidae family, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)

Anyphaenidae Eye Arrangements (Schimming)

       
Ghost Spider, Durham, NC, 6/5/09.  Family ID thanks to Lynette Schimming.   Here's the big messy straight dope: Norman I. Platnick's Anyphaenidae family page. 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)  

Agelenidae Eye Arrangements (Schimming)

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: http://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)   Pisauridae Eye Patterns (Schimming)

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, 6/9/11   Six-spotted Fishing Spider, NC Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 8/17/06.

Dark Fishing Spiders (Dolomedes tenebrosus)

       
Male Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus), Durham, NC, 6/6/11 Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus), Eno River State Park (Old Cole Mill Rd. access), Orange County, NC, 3/24/11 Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus), Cherryville, Gaston County, NC, 5/30/11.  Photo by Destiny Canipe. Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus), 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 (Dolomedes tenebrosus)?, indoors.  Photo by Michaela Brown.  ID is uncertain: markings aren't typical.        

 
 

 

Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus), 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. 

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)  Nursery Web Spider (Pisaurina mira), Geithner Park, Hickory, Catawba County, NC, 9/25/09 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)  Lycosidae Eye Patterns (Schimming)

These are very big spiders at maturity.  Although they are not known to administer venomous bites, I once had a close call with a full-size Wolf Spider: it had found its way into an empty shoe and surprised me with a painful nip that left deep indentations on my heavily callused toe when I put the shoe on.

Giant Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis), Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, Orange County, NC, 11/27/07 Giant Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis), Durham, NC, 12/8/09 Giant Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis), Durham, NC,  3/22/06.  This relatively large spider was scrambling around on the edge of a creek, sometimes in the water, sometimes on leaves or blades of grass. 

         
Wolf spider, Durham, NC, 1/12/13 Wolf spider, Sandy Creek Park, Durham, NC, 3/19/10 Wolf spider, Durham, NC, 2/16/08 This large wolf spider was carrying a bunch of spiderlings on her abdomen at Johnston Mill, Orange County, NC, 7/15/06. Wolf spider, Durham, NC,  10/28/05          

       
Wolf spider, Durham, NC, 11/25/09 Lance Wolf Spider (Schizocosa avida), Durham, NC, 11/1/06 Wolf spider (Pardosa genus, maybe milvina species), Durham, NC, 4/25/08 Wolf spider with egg sac, Durham, NC, 4/30/10        

       
Rabid Wolf Spider, 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, Alopecosa genus.  Durham, NC, 4/19/11        

Lynx Spiders (Oxyopidae family, Lycosoidea, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)

Oxyopidae Eye Arrangement (Schimming)

Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans)

   
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 (Peucetia viridans), NC Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 7/17/09 Green Lynx Spider(Peucetia viridans), Durham, 7/16/05.  This one showed up in my local marsh. Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans), Indian Creek Trail, a Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC, 9/3/06 Green Lynx Spiders: mother and spiderlings with egg sac, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/27/13   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 (Oxyopes salticus), Durham, NC, 7/29/12 Striped Lynx Spider (Oxyopes salticus), 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)

Thomisidae Eye Arrangement (Schimming)

These spiders don't spin webs; instead, they wait in ambush for their prey. 

Smooth Flower Spider or White-banded Crab Spider (Misumenoides formosipes)

 
This female Smooth Flower Spider or White-banded Crab Spider (Misumenoides formosipes) was apparently eating a fly on Siler's Bald in Macon County, NC, on 8/10/05. Female Smooth Flower Spider or White-banded Crab Spider (Misumenoides formosipes) with Eastern Tailed Blue prey on Brazilian Verbena, Durham, NC, 9/28/08 Smooth Flower Spider (Misumenoides formosipes) assuming yellow color and attacking a bumblebee.  Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/19/11 Female Flower Spider or White-banded Crab Spider (Misumenoides formosipes, Thomisidae family), on a Little-leaf Sensitive Briar flower, Riverbend Park, Catawba County, NC, 9/24/09 Male Smooth Flower Spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/12/08  

Goldenrod Spider (Misumena vatia)

 
Female Goldenrod Crab Spider, Tanawha Trail, Avery County, NC, 7/1/10 Male Goldenrod Crab Spider, Durham, NC, 9/7/12 This male Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) 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.  

Mecaphesa (formerly Misumenops) genus

       
Crab spider(Mecaphesa asperata), Blue Ridge Parkway, Avery County, NC, 8/2/12 Crab Spider (Mecaphesa genus, formerly known as Misumenops), 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. Female Flower Spider (Mecaphesa asperata), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/2/05.         

Synema genus

   
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 Tiny crab spider (Synema parvulum), with prey, Indian Creek Trail, a Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC, 7/7/06.     

Xysticus genus

Crab spider (Xysticus genus) with egg sac.  Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, NC, 8/15/10 Crab spider (Xysticus genus).  Durham (swamp in my neighborhood), NC, 9/22/05. Crab spider (Xysticus genus), Durham, NC, 10/1/05.  Also found in local swamp.  This spider was about ⅛ inch long.


 

Crab Spider, Wannamaker County Park, Charleston County, SC, 3/28/06 Crab spider, White Pines Nature Preserve, Chatham County, NC, 11/11/06 Crab spider with ant prey, Durham, NC, 5/27/09

Misumessus genus


Crab spider (Misumessus oblongus), Durham, NC, 6/8/12 Crab spider (Misumessus oblongus), a very young spider.  ID confirmed by Joe Lapp. Crab spider (Misumessus oblongus), Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 6/23/05.  This one showed up on my car.

Tmarus genus

         
Crab spider (Tmarus genus), Durham, NC, 7/2/12.  ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban. Crab spider (Tmarus genus), Durham, NC, 10/10/12          

Bassaniana genus?

         
Crab Spider, Bassaniana genus maybe, Southern Village, Chapel Hill, NC, 5/7/09          

Unidentified Crab Spiders

           
Crab Spider, Durham, NC, 8/17/06.  Showed up on door to our deck. Crab spider, Durham, NC, 5/17/08           

Running Crab Spiders (Philodromidae family, Dionycha, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)

Philodromidae Eye Arrangement (Schimming)

   
Male running crab spider, maybe Ebo genus, Durham, NC, 1/5/13 Running crab spider (Philodromidae family), Congaree National Park, SC, 4/30/11.  ID thanks to John and Jane Balaban, confirmed by Lynette Schimming. 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)

Gnaphosidae Eye Arrangment (Schimming)

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. 

Ant Mimic Spiders (Corinnidae family, Gnaphosoidea, Dionycha, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)

Corinnidae Eye Arrangement (Schimming)

Ground sac spider (Castianeira longipalpa)

 
Ground Sac Spider (Castianeira longipalpa), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 6/6/11 Ground sac spider (Castianeira longipalpa), American Tobacco Trail (miles 0-2), Durham, NC, 5/2/10 Ground sac spider (Castianeira longipalpa), Southpoint Swamp, Durham, NC, 9/26/07, a moderate-sized spider.  Thanks to Lynette  Schimming for genus ID.  Ground sac spider (Castianeira longipalpa), Durham, NC, 7/7/08 Corinnid spider (Castianeira longipalpa), Hanging Rock State Park, Stokes County, NC, 6/18/09  

Red-spotted Ant Mimic Spider (Castianeira descripta)

         
Red-spotted Ant Mimic (Castianeira descripta), Durham, NC, 11/20/07 Red-spotted Ant Mimic Spider, Durham, NC, 5/18/08           

Three-lined Ant Mimic Spider (Castianeira trilineata)

   
Three-lined Ant-mimic Spider (Castianeira trilineata), Durham, NC, 6/02/11.  The ID for this spider has been challenged, but no alternative proposed. 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. Clubionid spider, Durham, NC, 1/10/13          

Jumping Spiders (Salticidae family, Dionycha, RTA Clade, Entelegynae, Araneomorphae suborder)

Some jumping spider behavior is illustrated on William Butler's Facebook photos.

Salticidae Eye Arrangements (Schimming)

Jumping spiders seem to have excellent vision and quick response times.  One thing that's obvious is that they 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.

Synemosyninae subfamily

         
Jumping spider (Synemosyna formica), Durham, NC, 3/17/12          

Lyssomaninae subfamily

Lyssomanes genus

See a  video of mating Magnolia Green Jumping Spiders.  Read about Hill, D.E. (2006) Observations on the physiology of Lyssomanes viridis

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

Euophryinae subfamily

Anasaitis genus

       
Anasaitis canosa, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 6/25/08.  ID thanks to Ryan Kaldari; see associated BugGuide page.        

Dendryphantinae subfamily

Paraphidippus genus

         
Jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/28/07 Jumping spider (Paraphidippus aurantius)          

Phidippus genus

Phidippus clarus

       
Jumping spider (female Phidippus clarus), with prey.  Flat River Impoundment, Durham County, NC, 7/18/11 Jumping spider (male Phidippus clarus), Durham, NC, 6/15/08 Jumping spider (male Phidippus clarus) with prey, Durham, NC, 5/29/08        

Phidippus whitmani

         
Male jumping spider (Phidippus whitmani), at Abbott Lake, Peaks of Otter Recreational Area, Bedford County, Virginia, 7/9/09          

Phidippus otiosus

         
Big jumping spider (Phidippus otiosis) Another view of the big jumping spider (Phidippus otiosus)          

Phidippus audax

         
Daring Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax), displaying green chelicerae, Durham, NC, 10/10/09 Daring Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax), Durham, NC, 4/16/06 Daring Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax), Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/29/05          

Phidippus mystaceous

         
Jumping spider (Phidippus mystaceous), Occoneechee Mountain, Orange County, NC, October 29, 2009        

Phidippus princeps

         
Jumping spider (Phidippus princeps), Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham, NC, 4/4/09.  ID thanks to Ryan Kaldari.          

Pelegrina genus

         
Peppered Jumper (Pelegrina galathea), Durham, NC, 5/8/08          

Hentzia genus

Male Hentz Longjawed Jumping Spider (Hentzia palmarum), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/21/09.  Very uncertain about this ID.  Male Hentz Longjawed Jumping Spider (Hentzia palmarum), Third Fork Trail, Durham, NC, 9/25/11 Male Hentz Longjawed Jumping Spider, Durham, NC, 9/15/11.  Unusually pale, may have molted recently. Young male Hentz Long-jawed Jumping Spider (Hentzia palmarum) Female Hentz Longjawed Jumping Spider (Hentzia palmarum), Third Fork Trail, Durham, NC, 9/25/11         

 

         
Jumping spider, Hentzia genus, Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 4/5/13 Jumping spider (Hentzia mitrata), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 1/13/13 Jumping spider (Hentzia mitrata), about 5 mm long, Durham, NC, 10/27/11 Jumping spider (Hentzia mitrata), about 5 mm long. Durham, NC, 10/3/09.  ID thanks to Lyn Atherton.          

Tutelina genus

       
Jumping spider (Tutelina elegans), Durham, NC, 6/11/09         

Marpissinae subfamily

Platycryptus genus

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.

Metacyrba genus

         
Jumping spider (Metacyrba taeniola), Durham, NC, 6/20/05          

Maevia genus

         
Dimorphic Jumper (Maevia inclemens), Eno River State Park, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 7/27/07 Dimorphic Jumper (Maevia inclemens), Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC, 6/16/13          

Pelleninae subfamily

       
Colorful Creek Bank Spider (Habronattus decorus, Pelleninae subfamily), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/14/06.  About ⅛ inch long.        

Thiodininae subfamily


   
Young jumping spider, Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 8/17/05.  Look at all those eyes!  In the picture on the right, the spider faced toward me, but maybe was looking at me the whole time!  According to Lyn Atherton, its genus is Thiodina and its species most likely sylvana because it appeared in the woods.    

Unidentified Jumping Spiders

Jumping spider with prey, Dare County, NC, 10/5/05.

 

Spider Exuviae

     
Spider exuvia, Durham, NC, 7/25/09 Spider exuvia.  You can see the red chelicerae ending in black fangs.  Durham, NC, 6/14/08      

Mystery Spiders: unknown or uncertain/unconfirmable taxonomic classifications

From time to time spiders present ID problems and photos are shown here.  See if you can figure out what kinds of spiders these are.  If you know the answer, contact us.

 
Jumping spider with prey, possibly a winged termite. Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 4/20/07.  Tiny spider, about the size of a springtail, Durham, NC, 8/18/10  

 

Durham, NC, 7/28/05.  This tiny spider showed up at the swamp in my neighborhood. 

 

 

This looks like a marsh crab spider, found on the shoulder of a road going over Lake Crabtree, Wake County, NC, 10/13/05.  Maybe an Araniella genus member?

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 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.   The latest modifications to these classifications were made on 12/17/06.

Family classifications (thanks to the Global Biodiversity Information System) are provided by:   Catalogue of Life      Species 2000      World Spider Catalog.

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 © 2005-2012 by Dorothy E. Pugh, except for photos by other photographers.

REFERENCES

Gaddy, L.L. (2009) Spiders of the Carolinas. Duluth, MN:Kollath+Stensaas.

Schimming, L. (2010).  Spider Eye Arrangements.  Retrieved October 9, 2010 from http://bugguide.net/node/view/84423.

University of California, Riverside (2010) Brown Recluse ID.  Retrieved November 20, 2010 from http://spiders.ucr.edu/recluseid.html.

University of Kentucky (2011) Wolf Spiders.  Retrieved March 8, 2011 from http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/spiders/wolf/wolf.htm.

American Museum of Natural History (2011) A Key to Spider Families.  Retrieved June 9 2011 from http://research.amnh.org/iz/blackrock2/key.htm

 

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