I walked into the kitchen the other day and there was a giant wolf spider right in the middle of the floor. My first thought was, who got loose, because I live on the third floor, far from the ground, and I have six wolf spiders right now. The one in the kitchen was a... Continue Reading →
Solving the Murder Mystery in the Spider House
This is part two of a previously published post, Murder Mystery in the Spider House. It started like it did last time. It was a sunny summer day here in Pittsburgh. The windows were open and the sheer curtains were billowing in the breeze. One of the windows doesn't have a screen and I usually... Continue Reading →
Spider egg invader!
The crunchy ground on a cold February afternoon was holding everything captive except for the chickadees and squirrels. My hike was purposeful. I was keeping up a good heart rate, rhythmically breathing in icy air and exhaling vapor. At the top of a hill, I stopped to take in the view. I could see the... Continue Reading →
Southern House Spider
I love Pittsburgh, but I'd love it even more if there was a northern version of this spider! Large, gentle, and a velvety chocolate brown (can range to black), this spider reminds me of a mini tarantula. The scientific name is even great - Kukulcania hibernalis. I know it looks crazy to say, but this... Continue Reading →
Chapter One - Nah-uh (Pittsburghese for "No way") It may come as a relief to our locals in Western PA that recluse spiders (Loxosceles genus) are rarely found here. We are too far north of their natural range. Within the recluse spider's natural range, which is mostly the southern midwest, they are commonly found in... Continue Reading →
Ghost in the food chain
I don't expect to find many spiders in Pittsburgh during February, but right in front of me in the middle of a snowy trail I found a ghost spider. Ghost spiders are harmless, roaming hunters that are most often found on vegetation. Their average size is 3 - 8.5 mm depending on species. They are... Continue Reading →
Meeting the Goblin Spider
I was kneeling down on the floor sweeping cat-ejected kitty litter with a hand broom when I noticed a tiny, tan spider cruising along the floor. I'm talkin' TINY, like the head of a pin with legs. I only saw it because it was moving. A few hours prior, I caught a freely roaming juvenile... Continue Reading →
Photo ID, please.
What makes for a good spider photo ID? Here are a few tips that will help if you're thinking of sending a photo to any type of social media group, nature app, or your friendly neighborhood "spiderologist". Identifying spiders to species by looking at a photo is very tricky and not as easy as you'd... Continue Reading →
Little Brown Jumper on the Windowsill
I've been calling them "windowsill spiders" - small (~4mm), brown jumping spiders (Salticidae family) that appear against the white paint of the window sill as they scout for bugs. They were common enough, bland enough, and small enough that I never really gave them more thought than acknowledging that they were around. The face of... Continue Reading →
A Neospintharus Tale
This is a story about luck, transformation, and opportunities (or the lack thereof) in the life of a peculiar spider, Neospintharus trigonum. These spiders are in the Theridiidae family AKA comb-footed spiders and/or cobweb spiders. I found one in my backyard (Pgh) in mid-May. I only spotted this speck of a spider because it was... Continue Reading →
Do spiders get sick?
Considering our current events, I thought this might be an interesting topic, although a good suggestion from my sister, "Do spiders poop?" is definitely something blog-able in the near future. These two topics may overlap on some level. I've witnessed a lot of spider deaths of various causes and sometimes spider poop is the last... Continue Reading →
A Rundown on Running Crab Spiders
It's hard to find spiders in winter around here. During winter hikes, I casually search by peeking beneath loose bark and flipping over an occasional rock or log (and putting it back in place after). Sometimes, I get lucky. Most of the time I find nothing. The types of spiders I most often DO find... Continue Reading →