These pictures are the same spider as 48027, just different perspectives.
Wow!! You did a great job with the photos! What program/app did you use for the collage? You were very thorough with the angles and got the eye, which is quite useful. I’m not sure if this looks more like spider basketball or arachnid interpretive dance. That’s a weirdly flexible spider. I’m curious, Ill get to work on the ID..
I used Google Photos, as you suggested. Thanks for recommendation. Thanks for working on the ID. I am an entomologist, so I am familiar with getting insect pics for IDs. Only had my iPhone available for these shots, but turned out OK. I do not have easy access to spider keys, and cannot find any pics of similar spiders online. This leads me to think that this may be an interesting specimen.
That explains your user name. There are clip-on magnifying “macro” lenses available for cell phones that are true lenses, they don’t just expand the pixels. Some have LED lights and tripods. Most require that the phone be out of a protective case. I won’t take my phone out of its hybrid case outdoors. If anyone knows of a good brand and model of attachable macro lens that can fit around a silicone + hard shell case I appreciate the info. A new post to “discussions” on this site shows a wrapped insect very similar to the one your spider had.… Read more »
Do you mean Calum Ewing who works at NS Museum?
Yes, he’s a member of this site, pretty cool if you know each other!
I am from NS. Was provincial entomologist with dept of ag there for 13 years. Helped establish and manage observation hive at museum and trained volunteers. Familiar with several staff members. Have been living and working in NC for past 10 years.
It’s a small continent, North America.
I asked Dr. Ewing for recommendations for arachnid keys. You can see his answer to me in the Illinois section next to an orange marbled orbweaver photo.You can leave a message to him through that link on his name. A thought toward your spider from me is maybe the Herpyllus genus, I’m still thinking about it and learning.
I assume that the large brown ball is her egg case. What is the white fuzz-ball that she is manipulating.
Hi, it isn’t my photo, but yes the brown thing is an egg sack and I’m pretty sure the smaller white balls are silk-wrapped prey. The shape of the egg sack can be a factor in determining the species.
I agree with your earlier comment that these are beautiful photos of an extraordinary spider.
Her ability to delicately handle the small silk-wrapped prey with such long arms (correction, long legs) is remarkable. Looks like she placed the prey on her egg sack ?
I’m not a biologist, but this doesn’t look like a spider that would be native to North Carolina. Maybe she is a long-distance traveler from the tropics !!!
I’ve spent today studying spider reproduction (I really need to get out more!). Instead of depositing eggs directly into the large sack, where there is a risk of desiccation, it is possible that the larger sack is a retreat and the spider is wrapping her eggs into balls of silk and placing them into the sack where she’ll join them.
This spider is getting more interesting all the time !!! We need a photo of her squeezing into the egg sack retreat. I am anxious to hear the final verdict on her species and range. Wish we had a few of her kind in New Hampshire.
Hope you are going to spend Thanksgiving at the dinner table and not researching more spider reproduction :)) Just kidding, I very much admire people who are dedicated and passionate about their work, their play, their hobby.
Thank you. I learned that showing off your spider photos on your phone is an effective way to get other people to back off from the desert table. Yes, I really did that 😉 My dad truly does want to learn what spiders do differently than the “birds and bees”. I prefer to end up in the Guy Group of chat at parties, more stories about the origins of our scars, less gossip. My uncle had a scar from being mauled by a bear last year that won the scar contest. He was trying to ne friends with it while… Read more »
You make me laugh. Maybe I will talk spiders at the Indian Head dessert table on Thanksgiving. They usually have five kinds of cheesecake, don’t want to have any competition. Your uncle’s bear story strikes a cord. When I still owned my house in the 2001-2006 timeframe, I fed the bears bowls of black-oil sunflower seeds every evening. I would sit on a lawn chair while they ate next to me. Never had a bad encounter, we were soulmates. But the neighbors didn’t like it at all. One man in particular accused me of putting his children’s lives in jeopardy.… Read more »
Then again, the spider was sighted in “Silk” Hope, North Carolina …..
Another update: The spider is reported to be still in her web at the farm, so I plan to go there within the next day or two (yes, possibly on Thanksgiving) to get better photos using my insect set up (105 mm macro and ring flash on a 35mm camera). Goal is to get more detail of the eyes and abdomen in particular, but also body hair (if any), and closer shots of the male. Will post any new pictures soon after getting them.
Have you made any progress in identifying your spider’s species and natural range. I have a hunch she is tropical or subtropical. Looking forward to more photos. Maybe she will retreat into her egg sack for you, as TangledWeb has hypothesized.
Received this response from JK on my LinkedIn account today. He writes, “My taxonomist …(IS)…looked at the new photo you uploaded to spiderid.com. In this picture he sees the smaller spider more clearly, it seems to be a Parasteatoda tepidariorum (in a different photo it seemed like an Anelosimus sp.), a Neotropical spider that can already be found through much of the Holarctic. The big egg sac looks exactly like an Argiope aurantia egg sac (the egg sacs are very often characteristic of each species) and the only thing bizarre about this big spider is the abdomen. It is possible… Read more »
You hit the jackpot — tentatively Argiope aurantia with fungal growth. You definitely should capture her for study. May be an important scientific contribution. Take her egg sac also and relocate it to an outside location that you can easily observe.
Argiope aurantia is the common garden spider. There’s no way that your large spider is a garden spider, even taking into account possible variations. She looks much more exotic !!!
That’s my opinion as well, but I have an open mind and plan to investigate all leads.
Hi, I’m IS (JK’s colleague) and I still maintain that this is an Argiope aurantia. I saw your photo of the dead spider and it’s good that you have confirmed the fungal infection hypothesis. It’s neither Nephila nor Philodromus, as some have suggested. Nephila spp. spin golden silk webs and their egg sacs are yellow golden, fluffy and shaped differently. Philodromus doesn’t even spin webs and runs after their prey instead. As for the small spider, it is as I said a common house spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum. Though the small egg sac belongs to a Latrodectus geometricus, I cannot find… Read more »
Thank you for the update! There is a fungi site akin to The World Spider Catalog, http://www.indexfungorum.org This is based out of the same institutions that created ThePlantList, which is the plant equivalent. Since the dead spider didn’t fall over it is possible that it is a parastitic fungus that sends filiments through the feet of the spider to attach it to a surface long-term. This increases to spread of spores in air currents.The parasitic fungus that infects Pholcus phalangiodes seems to do that.
Once I get more pictures and closer examination of the specimen, I hope to find the ID somewhere in this database – World Spider Catalog (2018). World Spider Catalog. Version 19.5. Natural History Museum Bern, online at http://wsc.nmbe.ch.
Anymore updates ? Here are some additional thoughts. Initially the white hump looked like part of the spider’s body due to its symmetry. But your top right photo shows it extending around the underside of the abdomen. So the hump is most likely a fungal growth, as suggested by your linkedin friend’s taxonomist. You refer to a smaller spider, do you mean the bottom middle photo ? That looks like the same spider from a different angle and less magnified. The yellow spot at the back end of the abdomen is web debris (see other photos). Maybe your spider is… Read more »
The smaller spider was inadvertently cropped out of the collage photos. The original photo with the other spider can be found under Locations >North Carolina. It can be saved to a device and reposted from that photo. I have a copy of it saved while I try to figure it out.
I see the small spider in 48027. Hivediver’s linkedin friend’s taxonomist believes the large spider to be genus Argiope, characterized by a silver carapace (head) and large brown egg sac. Maybe the small spider wandered into the web but is unrelated.
I have an theory about this. The fungus Mucor fragiis infects brown widows, Latrodectus geometricus. It alters the surface of their bodies, hiding the colors. It can cause protusions as it expands internally. The infected spiders exhibit behavioral changes and become agitated and aggressive. The fungus can be visible on a living infected spider. I think these photos show a distorted and aggressive female Latrodectus geometricus. There was a study posted on researchgate.net Please be aware that humans can be infected by this fungus when you are in the spider’s habitat. It is possible that these infections are occurring in… Read more »
The large spider is Argiope, not a brown widow, but she may have been infected after killing and ingesting the brown widow. The fungus should be identified in the lab to help understand its possible spread northward. Nice work TangledWeb.
Thanks! I just noticed that her leg joints show signs of internal fungal infection. Some of my long-bodied cellar spiders have a similar parasitic fungal infection. The first visible sign is when the fungal strands burst through the leg joints. That is a spot on their body that isn’t contained by exoskeleton. Grossly, the fungus leaks out of containment there. Looking closely at the photos, there are white swollen gaps in her joints. The webbing in the photo could be the dead spider’s or the large female is spasmodically producing a mess of web.
You should alert the authors of the fungus study to these photos. It must be extremely rare to photograph a brown widow with a fungus-infected Argiope !!!
See genus Philodromis.
Update: Received this ID suggestion on LinkedIn two weeks ago from JE,Aquatic Entomologist. ‘This is Nephila clavipes, the Golden Silk Orb Weaver, also known as “banana spider” (a ridiculous common name)’. Also, I revisited the site, photographed and collected the spider, and I have examined it in my lab. Will post an update today with new photos here on SpiderID.com as a new submission.
Just submitted new pictures and details: https://spiderid.com/picture/49691/