Saturday, November 20, 2010

Steatoda Grossa: False Black Widow (2)

We're running across more and more Steatoda grossa in the house these days. There were the spiderlings in the kitchen, the one in the bathtub, another under the sink, and one under a backpack this morning. The three yellow lines on the abdomen (You can see them in this picture, if you look) are very helpful in identifying them.

I've been catching them--easy to do, just stick a jar over them, wait til they web to the bottom, turn it over, and put the lid on--and taking them outside to release them. They are not particularly venomous to humans, though reportedly their bites do hurt, and they eat black widows. I figure everyone will be happy with them outside. I read in one photographer's blog that putting them in the fridge for a while might slow them down long enough for photographs, and I thought I'd try it and see if I could get some ventral views, but I didn't want to hurt the spider, so I guess I didn't leave it in long enough: He took off as soon as the jar was turned over outside. This is one of two pictures I snapped as he dashed toward the nearest plant and hid himself under the saucer. I'm going to try to see if I can spot him near the rim of the saucer tonight, but I bet I won't. The Steatodas seem to be very light-sensitive and hide when I get near with the light.

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