Red-spotted Antmimic Spiders 29

This article by Jerry Cates, Dawn-Marie Hightower, Staci B., and Ashley A., first published on 3 August 2012, was last revised on 13 August 2013. © Bugsinthenews Vol. 13:08(02).

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Over the past thirteen years or so, usually during the busiest time of the summer, I’ve received a smattering of photos from BugsInTheNews viewers depicting a black spider, most often with a bright red stripe down the middle of its dorsal abdomen, but sometimes with a small number of red dots at the abdomen’s dorsal posterior, aligned longitudinally. In each case the general morphology of the spider was such that it clearly was not a black widow (which has a shiny, bulbous, almost spherical abdomen), and thus was unlikely to be dangerous. I suspected, however, that — owing to the black widow’s bad reputation and these spiders’ superficial resemblance to it — most people might be moved to quickly destroy them, without so much as a second thought. If so, few if any would be able to provide me with a specimen to study.

In almost every case I found myself annoyed at myself once more for not recognizing the spider’s identity outright, and cursed the little time seemingly available to conduct a serious inquiry from scratch. That had always led me to inform the sender that not much could be learned from the photo. The darkness of the spider’s body, and the lighting in which the photo was taken, prevented the kind of character analysis that was necessary to key it to family, genus, and species.

Please,” I would write in a beggardly tone, “save the spider for me to examine under the microscope…

But, alas, in every case but one, my plea was for naught. The sender nearly always wrote back that the spider was no longer in custody. It had either been destroyed (the most frequent situation) or released back into the wild.

Black Spider with Red stripe, College Station, Tx 03 Aug 2012 Ashley A Original

100a. College Station, TX; 03 Aug 2012: Original

Staci B., Round Rock TX 26 July 2012 Orig

101a. Round Rock, TX; 26 July 2012: Original

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And so the saga continued, year after year, with me still hoping that someone would eventually write back and say “No problem, Jerry, my boy. It’s in a glass jar just waiting for you to come and pick it up.” Well, this year — 2012 — is different. Though two photos of this species, shown above, followed the usual sequence, a third — received after I’d finally identified the species and posted the first two — arrived with the welcome words “I have the spider, still alive!“Photos of that spider are attached later in this article. First, though, we’ll discuss the two photos that preceded the third one, and my reaction to them.

The one on the right, found in Round Rock, Texas on 26 July by Staci B. (maddeningly, within a mile or so of my office), was released into the wild before Staci could get back to me. The one on the left, found by Ashley A. in College Station, Texas on 3 August, was pulverized into a misshapen mess by the Ashley’s mother, shortly after the photo was taken.

After receiving those first two photos, I decided to stop making excuses. Waiting for a specimen of this particular spider, which by any account appeared a lost cause, was just a delaying tactic on my part. The honest thing, I figured, would be to recognize it as such and deal with with it properly. Busy or no, I put aside what I was doing and found out — once and for all — what this spider’s name is. Besides posting the two raw photos above, I processed both with PhotoShop software, in what was expected to be a vain attempt to bring out added detail by enhancing contrasts, shadows, and brightness settings. The processed images, showing the maximum details that could be revealed, are posted below:

Black Spider with Red stripe, College Station, Tx 03 Aug 2012 Ashley A Max detail

100b. College Station, TX; 03 Aug 2012: Processed

Staci B., Round Rock TX 26 July 2012 Max Detail

101b. Round Rock, TX; 26 July 2012: Processed

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The resulting images, to my surprise, turned out to be far from useless. Though the eyes remained hidden in the darkness, a number of other details were revealed in them that were not evident in the originals:

  1. The faces of both spiders are unusually flat, much like spiders in the Salticidae family of jumping spiders. That impression led me to conduct another thorough review of the Salticid literature, which — as before — produced nothing to suggest this species was a member of that family.
  2. The palps, though not well defined in the spider from College Station, show no signs of being modified distally as are the palps of most male spiders. Such modifications are sometimes less noticeable in the Salticidae and in several other families, so this lack is less suggestive that this is a female as that both specimens are of the same gender. Markings often vary considerably between the sexes of the same species of spiders.
  3. The carapace is elongated longitudinally, and is about as long and as wide as the abdomen, and these two body divisions are noticeably separated by a “waist”. That’s odd… For most spiders the carapace is either broader than the abdomen or dramatically smaller, and only rarely about the same length and breadth; furthermore, the two divisions are not usually sharply delineated by what might be thought of as a narrow waist.
  4. Spiders whose body divisions are similar in size and shape, and whose major body divisions are separated by a narrow waist, are generally considered “antmimics,” for the fact that spider predators mistake the disguised spiders for certain ants and other, similar organisms found in their immediate environment. Some Salticid antmimics exhibit these features, but with noticeable constrictions, within the carapace, the abdomen, or both of those body divisions, that are ant-like or wasp-like, and — more to the point — quite un-spider-like.
  5. The spider before us, however, retains its spider-like qualities in both the carapace and the abdomen, which is typical of antmimics from another grouping of spiders, those of the genus Castianeira in the Corinnidae family. The red-spotted antmimic (Castianeira descripta), in fact, has a black or mahogany brown body and a dorsal abdominal band of red along its midline. The scalloped edges of the red band pretty much nail our specimen. A close relative — also known as the red-spotted antmimic but with a different taxonomic name, Castianeira crocata, is identical to C. descripta in outward appearance, but has certain microscopic characters of its genitalia that differ enough to distinguish it as a separate species. The distributions of these two species overlap, and both are represented in some parts of Texas.

So, on 4 August 2012, I published the two photos, along with my identification of the spider. Six days later, on 10 August, an email was received from Dawn-Marie Hightower, of Taylor, Texas, with this subject line:

I Have the Spider Still Alive!!

She supplied a photo, which — though of such low resolution it will not be published here — was clearly the same species, and added the following note:

Hello Jerry: I am in Taylor Tx and I still have the Black/Red spider still alive in a glass. As I have two small children I am not killing it until I know what it is and how much damage it’s bite can do. Below is a picture of the spider is question.

Dawn not only sent an email, but also called me on the telephone. I informed her this spider is not known to pose a danger to her, her children, or her canine and feline pets. Since I was in town at the time we made arrangements to meet at the Lowes Home Improvement Store in Hutto that afternoon so she could hand the spider over for me to study under the microscope. Later that evening I did just that. The photos from that session are provided below:

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female, dorsal habitus; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

200. Dorsal Habitus

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female, carapace; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

201. Carapace

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female, eyes; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

202. Eyes

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female, face; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

203. Face

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female, dorsal pedicel; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

204. Dorsal pedicel

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female, dorsal abdominal band; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

205. Abdominal band

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female, book lungs & epigynum; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

206. Book lungs & epigynum

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female; epigynum; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

207. Epigynum

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female, spinnerets & colulus; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

208. Spinnerets & colulus

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female, sternum; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

209. Sternum

Corinnidae: red-spotted antmimic, female; sternum; Dawn-Marie Hightower, Hutto, TX --- 10 August 2012

210. Sternum

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Anatomy:

  • Body Size: (fig. 200) the specimen supplied by Dawn-Marie Hightower measured 7.9mm in body length; most Corinnidae measure from 1-15mm in body length (Ubick & Richman, 2005), placing this specimen near the median;
  • Color: Except for book lungs and a band of red on the dorsal abdomen, the body is black to mahogany brown in color;
  • Carapace: (fig. 201) pear-shaped/pyriform, truncated to form an elongated cephalic region extending anteriorly;
  • Sternum: (figs. 209-10) oval, in the Corinnidae typically with precoxal triangles — also known as precoxal sclerites, consisting of triangular sclerotized extensions between the sternum and the coxae, sometimes fused with the sternum and sometimes free, with their pointed tips directed toward the coxae — but not obviously present in fig. 210 and possibly absent in this specimen;
  • Eyes: (figs. 202-3) eight subequal eyes in two straight rows;
  • Chelicerae: (fig. 209) with toothed margins, not visible in fig. 209, as the cheliceral claws (fangs) are retracted and obscure the margins of the cheliceral grooves in which the claws rest in the retracted state;
  • Mouthparts: (fig. 209) endites longer than wide, constricted medially, with serrula; labium longer than wide;
  • Legs: Though most Corinnidae have several pairs of ventral spines on the tibiae, those in the Castianiera have fewer pairs; the tarsi have 2 claws;
  • Abdomen: (fig. 200) oval, absent obvious scutes;
  • Spinnerets: (fig. 208) six, in a cluster; colulus present as small, narrow, fleshy lobe anterior of spinneret cluster;
  • Respiratory system: (fig. 206) one pair of book lungs;
  • Genitalia: female (figs 206-7) epigynum weakly sclerotized with two separate copulatory openings;

Behavior: in process

Common Names: Red-spotted antmimic.

Distinguishing Characteristics: in process

Distribution: in process

Physiology: in process

Mythology: in process

Similar Families: in process

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The Functionality of Ant Mimicry in Spiders

Most of the time, including the case before us with the red-spotted antmimic, when spiders mimic non-spider organisms in their surroundings, the mimicry is Batesian in form. In Batesian mimicry one organism (the mimic) that is harmless to its natural predators — and thus considered a prize morsel of food to them — evolves sufficient characters in its shape, form, coloration, and/or markings to outwardly imitate those of another organism (the model) that is harmful to its natural predators. When the mimic’s natural predators observe those mimicked characters, they mistake them as warning signs of the model. Instead of snatching the mimic up, they pass it by, preferring to eat one of its cousins that is not so fortuitously adorned.

This form of mimicry is named after the English naturalist Henry Walter Bates, whose work in the rainforests of Brazil led him to postulate that such mimicry evolves from the ordinary processes of natural selection. Predators seek out and exploit species that do not exhibit any of the warning signs of harmful organisms, leaving a disproportionately larger number of harmless species fortunate enough to serendipitously sport one or more such warning signs. Over time, species of prey that naturally exhibit a range of variation in body shape, coloration, and/or markings tend to produce more and more that mimic harmful organisms, and less and less of those that do not.

It should be noted that antmimics seldom fool the organisms they mimic. In many if not most cases — as for example in the one before us — they don’t even fool humans into thinking they are anything but spiders. Kaston (1978) points out that, in fact, the red-spotted antmimic doesn’t actually mimic an ant, but rather a red mutillid wasp. Even so, there seems little doubt that such wasps would mistake this spider for one of their numbers, or that we humans — on seeing such a spider — would think it a mutillid wasp, but that’s not the point. It is sufficient that some of the predators of these spiders (many of them other species of wasps) will be fooled, or momentarily confused, just long enough to cause them to hesitate, or to perhaps even pass this spider by altogether, for the spider and its future offspring to benefit.

A special thanks to those who, since this article was first published, have found one or more of these spiders and offered to keep and send them to me. Every comment, and every offer of new specimens was deeply appreciated. Don’t be dismayed if I did not provide a direct, immediate, and personal reply to your kind offer. Time is a precious commodity. The utter lack of a surplus of time, and the myriad of occupations that compete for my personal allotment, may make me appear ungrateful. Be assured, however, that I am…

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Taxonomy:

  • Kingdom Animalia (ahn-uh-MAYHL-yuh)  — first described in 1758 by the Swedish taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus [23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778], using the Latin word animal = “a living being,” from the Latin word anima = “vital breath”, to refer to multicellular, eukaryotic organisms whose body plans become fixed during development, some of which undergo additional processes of metamorphosis later in their lives; most of which are motile, and thus exhibit spontaneous and independent movements; and all of whom are heterotrophs that feed by ingesting other organisms or their products;
  • Phylum Arthropoda (ahr-THROPP-uh-duh) first described in 1829 by the French zoologist Pierre André Latreille [November 20, 1762 – February 6, 1833], using the two Greek roots αρθρον (AR-thron) = jointed + ποδ (pawd) = foot, in an obvious reference to animals with jointed feet, but in the more narrow context of the invertebrates, which have segmented bodies as well as jointed appendages;
  • Subphylum Chelicerata (Kuh-liss-uh-RAH-tah) — first described in 1901 by the German zoologist Richard Heymons [1867 – 1943] using the Greek noun χηλη (KEY-lay) = a claw, talon, or hoof + the Greek noun κερας (Ser-as) = an animal’s horn + the Latin suffix ata — which by convention is suffixed to the names of animal subdivisions — to refer to animals that have specialized appendages before the mouth that they use in feeding, capturing and securing prey and that — in the case of spiders — are further equipped to inject venom and digestive agents into their prey;
  • Class Arachnida (uh-RAKH-nuh-duh) first described in 1812 by the French naturalist and zoologist Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier [August 23, 1769 – May 13, 1832], usually referred to as Georges Cuvier, using the Greek noun αραχης (uh-RAH-kes) = a spider, in reference to all eight-legged arthropods, including such disparate animals as ticks, mites, scorpions, harvestmen, solpugids, and spiders;
  • Order Araneae (uh-RAY-neh-ee) — first described in 1757 by the Swedish entomologist and arachnologist Carl Alexander Clerck [1709 – 22 July 1765], who used the Latin word aranea = a spider or a spider’s web, to refer to eight legged arthropods that spin webs;
  • Suborder Opisthothelae (oh-PIS-thoh-THEE-lee) — first described in 1990 by the American arachnologists Richard C. Brusca and Gary J. Brusca, who used the Greek words οπισθεν (oh-PIS-thehn) = behind, at the back, yet to come + θηλη (THEE-lee) = nipple or teat, to distinguish this grouping of spiders from the more primitive spiders in the suborder Mesothelae, in that certain characters (e.g., tergite plates, ganglia in the abdomen, and — in particular, inasmuch as the suborder name is a direct reference thereto — median-positioned spinnerets) of the latter are absent in the former; thus spiders in this suborder have spinnerets positioned at the hindmost portion of the abdomen;
  • Infraorder Araneomorphae (Uh-RAY-nee-oh-MOHR-fee) — distinguished from the mygalomorphae by having opposing fangs that open and close perpendicular to the spider body’s longitudinal axis, in a pinching action, whereas, in the mygalomorphae (e.g., tarantulas and trapdoor spiders), which have fangs that open and close more nearly in alignment with the spider body’s longitudinal axis.
  • Series Entelegynae (inn-TELL-uh-jiy-nee) — araneomorph spiders which, unlike the Haplogynae, have hardened, i.e., sclerotized, female genitalia. Foelix (2011) points out that “entelegyne spiders have more complex reproductive organs (with an epigyne and separate fertilization ducts in the female)…” and that “Male entelegyne genitalia are very diverse…“;
  • SuperfamilyCorinnoidea — a grouping of entelegyne spiders that includes the Corinnidae and Liocranidae families;
  • FamilyCorinnidae this family name, proposed by the Finnish arachnologist Pekka Lehtinen in 1967, and accepted by Jörg Wunderlich in 1986, was first described in 1880 by the German arachnologist Ferdinand Karsch (1853-1936), at the age of 27; it follows the naming of the genus Corinna, in 1841, by C. L. Koch, after the 6th century B.C. lyric poetess of that name; one wonders, too, if the Greek κορις (COHR-iss) = bug or fish, might not have figured in as well, inasmuch as many of these spiders are characterized as having morphological features similar to certain insects, particularly ants;
  • Genus Castianeira — first described in 1880 by the German arachnologist Eugen von Keyserling (1833-1889), after Καστιανειρα (Castianeira), one of the wives of Priam in Homer’s Iliad; Kaston (1978) describes the genus as spiders that “run about over the ground and may resemble large ants or mutillid wasps“… they “resemble in form and manner of movement large carpenter ants, and they have been found associated with the ants. While ordinarily they move about slowly, like the ants, raising and lowering their abdomens and their front legs (which simulate the antennae of ants), they may run very rapidly when disturbed…“;
  • Species Castianeira descripta or C. crocata(both of which were first described in 1847 by the French American arachnologist Nicholas Marcellus Hentz, 1797-1856)Kaston (1978) describes C. descripta in these words: “The carapace and abdomen are deep mahogany brown to black. On the abdomen are red spots often restricted to the posterior end but sometimes extending forward to the anterior end. The legs have the femora dark like the carapace, but the distal segments are lighter, especially on legs I and II. Length of female 8 to 10 mm; of male 6.2 to 7.6 mm…; Howell & Jenkins (2004) describe C. descripta thusly: “C. descripta has a longitudinal red band along the abdominal midline that gives it the appearance of a red mutillid wasp. The red band in some individuals is reduced to a series of red dots extending the length of the abdomen or limited to small red dots at the posterior end of the abdomen. The remainder of the abdomen and cephalothorax is brown or black. The femora of the legs are brown or black, similar to the color of the body. The distal segments of legs I and II are yellow. Tibia I and II have two pairs of ventral spines…

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References to Relevant Scientific Literature:

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Questions? Comments? Corrections? e-mail jerry.cates@bugsinthenews.info or register, log in, and leave a comment in the space provided below



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29 thoughts on “Red-spotted Antmimic Spiders

  1. Reply Sgt Tristan Adams May 9,2013 1:46 pm

    I have just discovered one of these red spotted ant-mimic spiders running up the wall behind my computer station.
    Sadly like others in your article I mistook it for a Black Widow and quickly dispatched it due to having four young children in our household. After I did so I noticed that the strip was on the wrong side and quickly began researching what kind of new spider I had seen. I live in Jacksonville, NC. USMC Base Camp Lejeune to be more precise and was just wondering if it is normal for them to be this far east and or north since in your article they were all in TX.

  2. Reply Michael De Leon Jun 8,2013 12:46 pm

    I found a red and black castianeria Spider in my home. Victoria Texas

  3. Reply Michael De Leon Jun 8,2013 1:16 pm

    Jerry I have a red and black spider still alive if you would like it e-mail me. Michael

  4. Reply Stacey Booth Jun 19,2013 3:29 pm

    I just killed FOUR of these in my house and I live in Michigan. Are these normal for here?

  5. Reply Sergio Aguayo Jun 21,2013 9:40 am

    Just killed one inside my house in McAllen, Texas. Never seen one before but I knew it wasn’t a black widow but still freaked me out

  6. Reply Randi Rivers Carnley Jun 28,2013 8:36 am

    Just found found a spider of this type in Lubbock, Texas and added it to my arachnid photo collection… He’s still alive but I will be turning him loose soon so email me at troyandrandicarnley@yahoo and ill mail him to you.

    First time I’ve ever seen one like it…

  7. Reply Randi Rivers Carnley Jun 28,2013 8:37 am

    And he’s fairly large ….

  8. Reply Lindsey Jul 13,2013 10:15 am

    Hi! I just found one of these in my house (new construction) and stumbled across your website while trying to identify it. I have it in a ziplock bag if you want it. I I think it’s dead but it’s still intact. My mother in law picked it up with a paper towel and I snagged it before she smooshed it good and threw it away. I want to know what’s crawling around my house since I have small children and dogs around. We just moved to Round Rock, TX and I have never seen so much spider activity in my whole life! Just the other day I found a dead brown recluse in my washing machine! Ah! I wasn’t expecting so many spiders in a brand new house but I guess that’s what we get for disturbing their habitats!

  9. Reply Rebecca Aug 12,2013 1:37 pm

    They aren’t just in Texas… I just killed one in Western Wisconsin. It’s dead, but if you would like it I will save it and send it to you for comparison.

    _________________

    Sorry, Rebecca, for implying these spiders are confined to Texas. I meant, by that title, that the specimens I was reporting on were — at the time — all collected in Texas, but yes, they are found all over. In honor of your comment, I’ve changed the title to avoid confusion regarding their distribution.

    Gosh, I wish I had time to examine all the red-spotted ant mimics everybody is offering to send me, but I don’t… Thanks for the offer, though. And keep on studying the spiders around you. They are a fascinating group of organisms.

  10. Reply brittany Aug 13,2013 3:30 pm

    I think we just found one of these at work. I took a picture and tried to compare it with spiders online and this one came up. I knew it wasn’t a black widow. If you ever feel up to viewing the pic I can send it anytime. Thanks for thw page! I’m in Louisiana.

  11. Reply Theresa Gabica Aug 15,2013 1:30 am

    A friend found a black spider with 2 red spots and red tipped torso (she described it as a red pineapple shape). Her name is Amy Lewis Bartholomew and she posted the photo on Facebook about 2 hours ago. Depending on her security settings, you may be able to view her photo online. If not, I can forward it to you. (Yes, she killed and disposed of it.)
    We are in Twin Falls (southern) Idaho (45 miles from Nevada – desert climate) and haven’t seen this type before.

  12. Reply Jodie Sep 5,2013 10:10 am

    I think I may have killed one of these this morning. I’m not sure that it was an antmimic but those photos match the best. Like many others I have small children so the shoe came to its demise quickly. I know it wasn’t a black widow but I’m not one to be very spider friendly as I was bit on my eyelid as a teen. We recently moved here outside Elko, NV and I’m still trying to learn what can hurt us and which are harmless.

  13. Reply David Loewen Sep 13,2013 12:25 am

    I just got bit by one of them 2 days ago on the bottom of my big toe. It has been painful and I’m still sick, I will say they are poisonous. I’m 35 very fit and healthy it drives me up the wall that I feel like an old man, how long will the symptoms last?

  14. Reply David Loewen Sep 13,2013 12:29 am

    I just got bit by one of them 2 days ago on the bottom of my big toe. It has been painful and I’m still sick, I will say they are poisonous. I’m 35 very fit and healthy it drives me up the wall that I feel like an old man, how long will the symptoms last? FYI the spider is no longer dangerous (dead)

  15. Reply Martha Diaz Sep 22,2013 6:52 am

    Hi there. I spotted a similar looking spider out by our outdoor kitchen. From all the pictures I’ve seen, it still resembles the Black Widow the most. Could I send the pictures I took in to you for an identification?

    Best,
    Martha

  16. Reply Joe Burden Nov 13,2013 2:04 pm

    Yes i also have one of these spiders in a bottle now and i am in Merango In. my wife has been getting bit by something alot the last few weeks and well we have seen so many kinds of spider in and around our house so i am always catching them so i can learn about them. i seen where one person said they got bite by one and it made them sick. So what i am wondering is what is the symptoms of there bite then please help.

    thank you
    joe burden from Merango Indiana

  17. Reply Wayne Dec 15,2013 10:48 am

    We found one of these spiders while cleaning out a garage in Lomita, CA. I can’t find any other references to this spider on the west coast. Has anyone else seen them here. We almost killed it thinking it was a black widow, but it’s still roaming around. Thanks, Arachnaphobe.

  18. Reply Lena Dec 24,2013 12:30 am

    Just found one of these guys in my house in a small town in Florida. Is there any other info known about them? I thought I read on a different post that they were native to Australia. I am very interested to find out more about them. Thank you for the help.

  19. Reply Barbara Mar 25,2014 11:38 am

    Jerry, my daughter found a whole hatching of spiders on a flower pot on her front porch yesterday. (In Rockwall, Texas) They are very tiny; black with bright red spot. I wonder of these are the spiders you described. Never did see an adult. If not, what kind are they and are they dangerous. We took a picture, will try to send it. Thanks for your help.

  20. Reply Christina Apr 30,2014 10:26 pm

    I found one about 2cm in length in Dallas, Tx. I Have him in a glass jar, he is lively! Please let me know if you want him. I have never seen one of these before.

  21. Reply Sam May 15,2014 3:19 pm

    Just found one of these in our home. Screamed like a little girl and smashed it without a second thought. We live in Fort Bragg, NC.

  22. Reply Carole Maxwell May 25,2014 3:37 pm

    Found one of these today in my den. Thought it was a black widow at first because we do have some in our yard. I am usually a capture-and-release type of person but reacted hastily this time. Upon closer examination I realized my error but, by that time, it was too late. I’m 99% sure it is a castianeira crocata. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one. So sorry I killed it.

  23. Reply Anna Jun 17,2014 8:53 pm

    My daughter and I saw a small (baby) crawling on the ground outside our above ground pool Sunday. She tried to kill it thinking it was a baby black widow, but ended up letting it get away. Yesterday, I looked around and one had fallen in our pool, I am assuming from an oak tree limb that hangs over the pool. It was quite large and my hubby and I watched as it took a swim in the skimmer! We also thought that if it was not a black widow, then it was a distant kin. We are in southeast Kentucky, Harlan to be exact.

  24. Reply Lynnette hook Jun 28,2014 12:26 pm

    Hi. I found one living in my compost bin. It doesn’t quite look like the ones in your pictures. Unfortunately I do not have pictures (it scurried away). The spider I saw looked more like a giant wolf spider, tucked its legs in to hide and when it did that I could see it was a little hairy on the back side and definitely had the red on the back…but it was more of a blotchy triangle, not a strip running the length of the back.

  25. Reply sarah Oct 5,2014 2:31 am

    I just found one behind my tv and fliped out because i thought it was a black widow i lost it dont know if i killed it or if it got away im from washighton state

  26. Reply isaac moleli Dec 13,2014 11:43 pm

    Hi. I found one here in soweto. Johannesburg. South Africa… are these spiders distributed? Thod it was a black widow…. its still alive… –

  27. Reply David R. Jan 6,2015 10:12 pm

    Mistaken for a black widow in College Station TX a few months ago (like Sept. 2014). Pulverized by my daughter (was in bedroom, being chased by our new kitten, out of fear of bite).

  28. Reply Cristy Garcia Apr 20,2015 2:22 pm

    We caught a specimin of this spider in my classroom. It is alive and in my principals office. Just holler if you would like another one! 512-992-5564.

  29. Reply Jessie S. Apr 26,2015 6:35 pm

    I live in oklahoma and found one today runnning accross my living room floor.

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