Thomisid Crab Spiders in Grand Prairie, Texas

Regina attached two images to that email, both of extraordinarily beautiful crab spiders that she had found in her extensive flower garden. I wrote back that they were both crab spiders in the Thomisidae family, and that I would be adding them to the website, as additions to the two existing pages on crab spiders, one that was photographed near Athens, Texas and another that was collected at a medical facility in Cameron, Texas. I then asked if by chance she had taken more photos. It happened she had. Soon a wealth of images came my way, for which I — and, no doubt, soon a host of viewers — am and are grateful. [...]

A Brown Spider in NW Austin, Texas

This spider appeared to have many of the characters of a spider in the Amphinectidae family, Metaltella simoni, which bites but is not known to produce serious medical consequences. As I’m presently studying the Amphinectidae, I asked her to preserve the spider in alcohol and hold it to be picked up at a time and place of mutual convenience. She asked what kind of alcohol was best for that purpose. [...]

A Thomisid Crab Spider near Athens, Texas

Thomisids are not considered dangerous although they — along with practically all other spiders — will bite if handled, particularly if handled roughly. If you play with spiders, you will probably get bitten, but most spider bites do not produce medical symptoms beyond the local area of the bite itself. Note: if you have been bitten by a spider, read the material on the link at the head of this article on SPIDER BITE FIRST AID. For information on exterminating and controlling spiders in your environment read the material at the link under that title. [...]

A Foldingdoor, Collardoor, Turret, or Trapdoor Spider from Yoakum, Texas

received the following e-mail regarding the spider shown at left on 25 November 2011: “Attached is a spider we found in Yoakum, Texas in a dirt pile inside a small funnel he built. The spider was a real shiny brown, and the closest thing I can find that looks like it is native to Australia! The spider is about an inch and a half long, and appears to have 10 legs. Let me know if you could help me identify it. Thanks!” [...]

A Thomisid Crab spider from Cameron Texas

Ella stopped in her tracks and exclaimed “Whoa! There’s a spider on your back!” My skeptical response was “Oh, sure there is…” But she persisted, making me wonder briefly if she might be telling the truth. A moment later she quietly added “And now it’s on your leg…” Looking down, my eyes caught sight of a tiny spider, with long crab-like legs, suspended on a fine line of silk. Aha! a thomisid crab spider! The kind that loves flowers, and this facility is surrounded, outside, by hundreds of flowering plants that today were adorned with a multitude of blossoms. A thomisid residing on one of those bushes must have hitched a ride on my back, probably after I’d brushed against one of the flower-bedecked fronds that extended across my path. [...]

Brown recluse spiders in Austin, Texas

Recluse spiders are, well… reclusive. They are not easy to find unless the home is absolutely infested with them, to the point that that they have trouble finding places to hide that aren’t already loaded with other brown recluse spiders. This home was neat as a pin, and had absolutely no obvious clutter where brown recluse spiders could secret themselves away from the sight of humans with strong flashlights. [...]

Striped Bark Scorpions in Texas: Taxonomy, Anatomy, Behavior, & Case History

The striped bark scorpion (Centruroides vittatus) was first described by the American naturalist and entomologist Thomas Say (1787 — 1834) in 1821. This scorpion, and all other scorpion species, are arthropods (invertebrate animals with jointed appendages) in the class Arachnida — first described in 1812 by the French naturalist and zoologist Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier (1769 – 1832) using the Greek noun ἀράχνη, aráchnē = “spider” — and the order Scorpiones. That order, which in early 2011 contained about 1,750 recognized species, was first described by the German entomologist and arachnologist Carl Ludwig Koch (1778 — 1857), using the Greek noun σκορπιος, scorpios = “scorpion.” [...]

A Trapdoor Spider in Mobile, Alabama

This spider was playing dead under the bath mat. I thought it was dead, so I scooped it up onto a paper plate to take a picture of it next to a quarter. When I tried to flip it over to take a picture of the other side of it, it sprang it’s legs out and started running all over the place. I panicked and smashed it as you can see. It was quite large! [...]

Male Trapdoor spiders (poss. new species) near Cresson, Texas

Male spiders of most species have enlarged palpal tibias, with a cymbium, a bulb, and an embolus, which together provide for sperm storage and intromission (see the montage of photos later in this article for images of the pedipalps), that transform them into copulatory devices, as described by Foelix (1996), p. 16; the female’s palps, by comparison, are morphologically similar to ordinary ambulatory appendages, except that they are absent a metatarsus. Thus, if a spider has remarkably swollen pedipalps, regardless of the species, it can safely be sexed as a male. Dave’s specimens met that criteria. [...]

A Field Wolf Spider near Walnut Creek, Austin, Texas

The field wolf spider (Hogna lenta) was first described in 1844 by the French American arachnologist Nicholas Marcellus Hentz. His description was penned in these words: Lycosa lenta. PI. 3, figs. 1-4. (Hentz made drawings of the specimens he described… [...]