Oct 3, 2009

My Own Monster

I rarely get to contribute any of my own photos, but I was so proud of this one that I had to share. That's right. Mr. Arachnophobia here mustered up enough courage to clamber into the ivy to get a shot of this beast up close. No sedatives or change of underpants needed.

Can anyone tell me this spidey's species? It lives in my backyard in the Sacramento valley of California, if that helps. I'd measure it in at around a two and a half inch leg span.

It never tried to snare any of my children, so I let it be. If some of the coloring looks to be off, that's because I had to use a flash (don't any of you purists give me a hard time! The monster was in the shadows, and it was back lit. Don't judge me.).

10 comments:

Raquel Alzate said...

Let's see... perhaps "araneus diadematus"? A somehow "whiteish" version...

Jaden said...

Resident arachnologist here :)

Without a lookup, it's 100% an argiope sp. Doing the lookup now. Will have a better answer shortly.

Jaden said...

Haha! That's what I get for posting before I looked it up. It's in the Araneidae family, but not an Argiope.

The latin name is Araneidae Metepeira crassipes. The common is just "orb weaver."

Great picture, and thanks for the difficult ID this morning :)

dedicabl captcha said...

Identifying spiders is infuriating and requires a lot of experience:

http://www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/spidermyth/myths/easy.html

Jaden- on what basis are you making that identification? There aren't very many photos online, but this site says that the females are 4.7-7.2mm http://www.kaweahoaks.com/html/spider_checklist_bcarroll.html

If we take RW's estimate of 2.5'' at face value, the body would be almost 2cm long. Even if we assume a .5'' overestimation (a fairly big one), the body would still be some 1.5cm. Both are clearly a lot larger than .72cm, being more than twice the size. I realize these are VERY rough estimates, but for the spider in the pic to be 7.2mm, the leg span would have to be only 1.46 inches long.

it's certainly possible that RW superexaggerated the size of the spider, especially since he's an arachnophobe, but Metepeira crassipes just sounds too small to fit the bill.

Trophi said...

Because I have way too much time on my hands and I have no life (actually, I'm just procrastinating), I decided to make life-size estimates of the three sizes I mentioned above.

http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/5386/spidersd.jpg

(large to small) The first spider is 2.5'' in leg span, 2cm body. Second spider is 2'' leg span, ~1.5cm body (actually this time I measured it as 1.7), third one is .86'' leg span, ~.7cm (it's pretty hard to measure when it's that small, hence the discrepancies in the numbers)

RW, do you think that the spider you saw was the size of the spider in the smallest picture?

Anonymous said...

Looks like a regular old orb weaver to me. But enough reason to stay out of California.

Raging Wombat said...

That's fantastic, Trophi! I'd say she was a hair smaller than the second largest photo. Mind you, she's one of the biggest I've seen. Most of them are smaller. Now they're almost entirely gone ... gone the way of Charlotte.

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks for spending so much time on it, Jade. And dedicabl captcha, you are wise to second guess my estimation of spider sizes. They all look monstrously large to me.

Moxie58 said...

Gorgeous creature, whatever she is!

Nicole said...

I don't care what variety she is. I would not get close to her!!