Baby Jumping Spiders

Newly-hatched baby spiders can be almost spherical, tiny, half-formed, without a lot of features. I’ve heard spider enthusiasts describe newly-hatched spiders as “eggs with legs“. After their first molt, though, they seem to become tiny versions of the adults, although until a spider has grown up completely it may be missing characteristics that allow you…

Messua limbata

This darling little brown jumping spider is an adult female Messua limbata, the only species of Messua found in North America. Both males and females are about the same size, 5mm or so, and these spiders range from California to Arizona, as well as “Texas to Mexico”, which apparently also includes Florida. The kind people…

Heptagonal Orbweaver

This unassuming 3mm spider was almost invisible, hanging vertically, upside-down, with its legs in an X pattern in a tiny, five-inch web with a little stabilimentum. It looked like a miniature representative of the genus Argiope, one of the big garden spiders, but in fact this lovely lady is an adult female heptagonal orbweaver, Gea…

White-Banded Fishing Spider

The white-banded fishing spider, Dolomedes albineus, is named for a light or white “moustache” which is sometimes found just above its chelicerae, on its clypeus (roughly its “face”). This individual does not display the white band, but it does have the many bristly setae (hairs) on its legs, and the forest-green coloration which mark it…

Tuftlegged Orbweaver

The kind folks at iNaturalist.org identified this one for me — I was looking in entirely the wrong family. This lovely lady is a tuft-legged (or tuftlegged) orbweaver spider, Mangora placida, with the definitive feature, I think, being those two white spots on her abdomen, along with the shape of the dark brown stripe they’re…

Tigrosa annexa (Wolf Spider)

This is a tentative identification, because I can see from the bugguide forums that not everyone is decided on what this species is or even what genus it’s in, but based on “two yellow dashes flanking the median stripe in the cephalic region“, I’m pinning this lovely female wolf spider as Tigrosa annexa. Formerly members…

Crab Spider (Mecaphesa sp.)

One of the pitfalls of the identification of tiny things is that, eventually, you get a pile of things you can’t tell apart without dissecting them putting them under a microscope. Crab spiders are one such group. There are 18 species of crab spider in the genus Mecaphesa in North America, and — well, not…

Attidops cinctipes (Jumping Spider)

The minuscule size of this spider is difficult to convey — I thought it was a lint ball until it moved and tried to pounce on a springtail (which was bigger than it was, to give you an idea of scale). Attidops cinctipes, no common name, is a well-camouflaged and extremely tiny jumping spider which…

Florida Longspinneret Spider

This identification is tentative, as bugguide itself does not seem 100% sure which Hersiilid spiders might be found in Florida. This spider is definitely from the family Hersiliidae, the longspinneret spiders, but it may be Yabisi habanensis (Florida longspinneret spider), Neotama mexicana (mexican twintailed spider), or Murricia uva (no common name). I am going with…

Yellow Garden Spider

This inch-long behemoth is a juvenile yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia). When it is grown, it will be a brilliant yellow and black, and almost three inches across including the legs. (Assuming it’s a female, which is a good guess, as even now she’s bigger than an adult male; the boys top out at about…

Humpbacked Orbweaver

Humpbacked orbweaver spiders (Eustala anastera) are identified primarily by the little bump on the end of their abdomen (sort of visible in this photo) and by lichen-green coloration (although they also come in orange and rusty brown colors). They are pretty variable, pattern-wise; you can see some of the color variation here. This one has…

Spiny Orb Weaver

You can tell that a lot of people notice this brightly-colored, distinctive spider in their gardens, as it’s collected so many common names: spiny orb weaver, jewel spider, spiny-bellied orbweaver, kite spider, jewel box spider, smiley face spider, crab spider, crablike spiny orbweaver. Good heavens. The Latin name means roughly “thorn-belly” (Gasteracantha) and “crab shaped”…

Tmarus Floridensis

Crab spiders are much like jumping spiders — they don’t build a permanent web, and instead go hunting for their prey. Crab spider have smaller eyes than jumpers (relatively), and the eyes appear to extend out of a “hood” on the head. Their first two pairs of legs are much longer than their last two,…

Hamataliwa Grisea

Admission time here: I used to think that jumping spiders were the epitome of cuteness, but that was before I met my first lynx spider. This is Hamataliwa grisea, a tiny (1cm) lynx spider which suffers from a scandalous lack of common name. Bugguide.net contributors have called it a “bark lynx spider” and “not a…

Metacyrba Punctata

I’ve been told that, when a species does not have a common name, I should give it one. This little fellow deserves one, don’t you think? This handsome Metacyrba punctata jumping spider was wandering around on my garage door when I spotted him. He gave me a few choice leg gestures (“Go away! I’m busy!”)…

Swift Crab Spider

Crab spiders get their name from their widely-splayed and elongated first two pairs of legs, which they use to catch prey bigger than they are. They do not build webs but wander around and hunt, often in flowers. Wrestling with prey several times their size can damage the spider — this one is missing a…