Saturday, November 05, 2011

Clown-face spider

It's an odd year for spiders. Most of those I've been finding around here are very small, and most are ones I haven't seen before.

BugGuide suggests choosing an identifying name; I called this one "Clown face spider". Once I get an ID from them, I'll update the post.

The "face" is on the back, not the head, but still ...

The spider is about 1 1/2 millimetres long. I think I see eight eyes here. And since the pedipalps (only one visible) have no club ends, she is probably female. Or very young.

Update: BugGuide identifies it as a juvenile False Black Widow, Steatoda grossa. Possibly male, but definitely young.
The bite of this spider can produce symptoms that are similar, but much less severe than those of a black widow bite. In some cases blistering may form at the site of the bite along with physical discomfort that lasts for several days.
I wonder how big it has to be before it can actually bite through human skin. BugGuide has a photo of one that grew to 7 mm. (about 1/4 inch) by 8 months old. A mature female looks like a black widow without the red mark on the belly. I'll keep a lookout for these now.

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