Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Southern House Spider

I found this large spider strolling across the floor in the lab where I work and scooped it up into a cup to find that it was a female southern house spider (Kukulcanka hibernalis) also known as a "crevice weaver". First described in the mid 1800's by the French American arachnologist Nicholas Marcellus Hentz, it does have a menacing look to it, but will not bite unless its trapped.

Some people mistaken the male for the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) because of shape and color and due to the prominent groove down its thorax, which in combination with the dark area of the head behind its eyes, suggests the presence of a "fiddle" as found on the recluse. One difference between the two is eye arrangement. The recluse has three sets of two eyes that are in an "arc" arrangement, whereas the house spider has eight eyes grouped together. Also, the recluse got its name because it's "reclusive" meaning you usually do not see one scurrying across the floor. Because most of the people I work with are arachnophobes and would've squashed it in a instant, I decided to take it home and release it so it could live its life.

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