I have a real website now rather than a blog. Though I will keep this one open for a while, I will no longer keep this one up. My new site, "USA Spiders" is not fully completed but getting close. I made sure to get the Michigan page finished first. :o) Please use
USA Spiders in the future and if you find any problems with the site, please let me know so I can fix them.

Spiders verified to be here in Michigan are listed on the left sidebar. On the right sidebar, are the spiders of which pictures have been sent in to me.

The BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER! - Rick Vetter, the worlds top expert on the Brown recluse has published a book on the infamous Brown recluse spider. Learn the truth behind the worlds most misunderstood spider. (BUY IT HERE!)

My Disclaimer
My Knowledge and Why I am Not an Expert

Spider Questions and IDENTIFICATION Requests
My EMAIL can be found in the above link. I am always happy to help identify a spider, but please do us both a favor and read this before emailing me. Thanks.

Describing your Spider ..... Photographing your Spider

Your Fear of Spiders
........... Spiders in your Home?


Beyond Spider Dome - Where two spiders enter and one comes out.

Spiders and Drugs - Documentary video about the effects different drugs have on spiders.

Play with a computerized spider
- (flash)

Spider Diagram. - Basic anatomy of a spider.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rabbit Hutch Spider

Michigan Spiders - Rabbit Hutch Spider-6
Michigan Spiders - Rabbit Hutch Spider-5
Michigan Spiders - Rabbit Hutch Spider-2
Michigan Spiders - Rabbit Hutch Spider-1
Abdomen - Round like and Brown or Chestnut. Often with a cream colored stripe running along the sides and down the back.

Cephalothorax - Approximately two thirds the size of the abdomen. Usually black in color. Could be brown.

- The females grow to around 7mm (Just over 1/4 inch) and the males are only 5mm (just under 1/4 inch). The male, shown in the pictures above is on a 3 oz dixie cup.

Bite Info - I have not been able to find any evidence of anyone ever being bitten by this species. Whether it is capable of penetrating human skin or not I cannot say. Since I have no insurance at this time, I was not about to test it. :o)

Other Notes - This Steotoda (Rabbit Hutch Spider) is also known as the False Widow because it is nearly the same size and has a similar body shape. When they are black, they are often confused with the Widow, except they do not have the tell-tale red hourglass marking.

Genus - Steatoda Bipunctata

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brown Recluse and Mediterranean Recluse (Very Rare in Michigan)

Due to the fact that the Recluse cannot live in temperatures of less than 40 degrees, the spider is NOT native to Michigan. In my searches, I have only uncovered four or five accounts where the Brown Recluse has been positively identified here in Michigan. The DNR lists one case and the Entomology Department of MSU has an article listing three cases. Assuming the DNR case is not one of those other three, that would only be four time ever in Michigan. The fifth happened in June of 2013, when Rod Crawford, the Curator for Arachnids at the Burke Museum, positively identified two specimens sent to him by a woman in Livonia Michigan.
The Recluse seems to be the most feared spider in Michigan, even though they are not even indigenous to Michigan. Often when pictures are sent in to me to identify, people do so because they are afraid the spider they found might be a Brown Recluse. If you find a spider and fear it may be a Recluse, look closely at the eye pattern. If the eyes are not in three groups, with two eyes in each group, it is not a recluse. If it has banded legs or stripes or patterned markings on it abdomen, it is not the recluse. If you look at these things and still believe it may be a recluse, please send me as clear a photo as you can. My email address is on the front page near the top. Please, do not discard any spider you believe is to be a Brown Recluse. Even if I agree, the only way it can be positively identified is to send it to a real expert to be dissected.

Michigan Spiders - Brown Recluse-1

Abdomen - Brown and ablong but shade can range from lighter to darker. It is believed that this can change depending on how recently they have fed.

Cephalothorax - Approximately 2/3 the size of the abdomin, it has a darker pattern at the head of the cephalothorax that extends towards the rear with a thin stripe leading towards the rear. The pattern has a shape of a violin, giving the Brown Recluse the knickname of the Violin Spider, Fiddleback Spider, and the Brown Fiddler.

Legs - Long and thin and closer to the color of the abdomen with no stripes or hairs.

- The body is approximately 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch, but can sometimes be a little larger.

Bite Info - It is rare that a recluse will bite. It usually has to be forced to bite by pushing against it and making it defend itself. Of the cases it does bite, most bites have little effect and heal on their own in a couple of days. It is only the rare venomous bite that is cosidered dangerous.

The venom of the Recluse is a cytotoxin, which destroys cells causing the body tissue to deteriorate. The bite is often painless and not noticed for several hours before the infected area becomes irritated. In some cases, the bite is nothing more than an irritation but there is some cases where it can be dangerous. Left unattended, the wound can develop a sore that will continue to grow. Even treated the infected area can create a sizable wound. In some cases the victim will develop symptoms that lead to systemic hemolysis, coagulopathy, renal failure, and, rarely, even death.

Other Notes - Though dangerous, the Recluse is not an aggressive spider. Bites are pretty rare and almost always the fault of the victim. Most bites occur when the spider is in shoes, towels covers when people use them or when someone picks up a box in a basement and presses against the recluse.

Recluse spiders are night hunters and will feed on dead insects as well as living.

It should also be noted that there are thousands of people going to hospitals every year to have what they believe is a recluse bite, and too often doctors are misdiagnosing them. Consider this. In states where the Recluse is common, it is still uncommon for people to be bit by them. Of those who are bit, it is uncommon for the bite to develop the nasty wounds we so often hear about. So if it is so extremely rare for someone in Michigan to come across a Recluse, how much more rare would it be for someone in Michigan to be bit by the infamous spider? How much more rare would it be for someone in Michigan to not only find one and get bit by one, but for the bite to develop a terrible wound? The fact is, if you are here in Michigan and your doctor says you were bit by a Brown Recluse, go see another doctor and have him check you for infections like MRSA and Allergic reactions. Because the odds you were actually bit by a Recluse here in Michigan is almost impossible.

If you are ever bit by a recluse, or ANY other spider, it is important to retrieve the spider (dead or alive) for true identification. I have recently had an expert from Spider Myths (Burke Museum) inform me that even medical doctors often misidentify the recluse spider and it is important that a real Arachnologist is the one to identify it.

Genus - Loxosceles reclusus (Brown Recluse), Loxosceles rufescens (Mediterranean Recluse)