IMPORTANT NOTICE: NEW SITE!
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?


FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT.....

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.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Disclaimer for Michigan Spiders

I feel it is necessary to make sure it is understood that I am not an expert and do not claim to be one. I have no degree in entomology or any other field. Any information I offer, it is strictly my opinion. If you wish to have a spider identified for a 100% ID, you would have to look up an entomologist and send your specimen to him/her and have them put it under a microscope.

In 2009 I knew very little about spiders and much of what I thought I knew, I had wrong. I found a spider in our living room and decided to look it up. When I had trouble finding any sites about what spiders were in Michigan, I decided I would start a blog posting the ones I found. I wanted to give others a place where they could find out what spiders they were dealing with. After a couple of years of this, my site suddenly reached the first page in google searches for spiders in Michigan and the next thing I knew, I had people emailing me, asking me to help them identify spiders.

Since that happened, I have learned a lot about spiders. Most of what I learned has come from looking them up, but I have also learned a lot from being in touch with the real experts like Rod Crawford and Rick Vetter. They have been a great and wonderful help.

So when I give you an identification, it is my opinion. If I am not sure I will tell you so, but there is always a chance of me being wrong. I will always do my best and try to update anyone I feel I have given any wrong info to.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dealing with Spiders in Your Home?

I have been getting a lot of emails lately about spiders, more often than not the Wolf Spiders, people find in their houses. Well, 'tis the season I guess.

It is that time of year when in many species, the males will start to wander, looking for a mate. Often while they are roaming about, with the weather cooling off, they are drawn to the warmer interior of our homes.

There is also the problem of Garden Orb Weavers making their large round webs by windows or on porches. This is often a direct repercussion from leaving porch lights on in the evenings or leaving blinds open at night with lights on inside. Flying insects are drawn to the light. Flying insects are a good source of food for spiders. Especially Garden Orb Weavers who spin webs meant for catching flying insects. So where large quantities of flying insects are gathering, so comes the spiders as well.

So you are probably wondering what to do right? Well here are some tips I would personally offer....

1) Do not leave porch lights on. If you must, then look into bug lights. They are yellow bulbs that are not supposed to attract insects so much. Leave blinds closed while you have lights in the rooms on.

2) Spider repellent sprays. You can buy gallon size jugs that come with a thin hose and a spray gun attached at Home Depot or Lowes and such places. They are not meant to kill spiders but are used to keep them away. Spray around the perimeter of windows and doors every 6 to 8 weeks.

3) Search and sweep your basements and attics. Clean out any spider webs and egg sacks you can find.

4) When it comes to the Garden Orb Weaver, do not bother just breaking down the webs during the days. They will only rebuild it again. Often in the same place. Use a long stick and put it in the web while the spider is in the middle of it. Spin the web around the stick, trying to get the spider on the stick, then carry it to another place.

5) Fumigating never hurts.

6) Do not sleep with blankets draping off the bed onto the floor. Remember, spiders tend to like crawling up and this often leads to them getting on the bed and biting someone who rolls over on them.

Do these things, especially tips 1 & 2, and you will be surprised at how many fewer spiders you will see in your home during the Summer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Northern Black Widow

The Northern Black Widow spider is becoming more common in the southwestern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. I have reported in the past that they were very rare but that no longer seems to be the case. Recently I had someone email me with a picture of a black widow spider he found near the western coast of the lower peninsula, almost half way up the state. I began looking into this and found the following three links (one of which he sent to me as proof).
WZZM 13 (ABC)
Michigan DNR
Diagnostic Services (at MSU)



Michigan Spiders - Northern Black Widow Spider-2Female


Michigan Spiders - Northern Black Widow Spider-3Female


Michigan Spiders - Northern Black Widow Spider-MaleMale


PHOTOS - The pictures above are not taken in Michigan. They are simply pictures of the spider I found on the internet to help people understand the different looks of the Black Widow. Being as I found them on Google Images, I do not know what site they were from but I will add the address if someone can identify them.

In no way was I meaning to steal these pics as my own and I apologize to any who were misled.

Abdomen
- Females - A glossy black with a red hour glass shape on the underneath side (may be half a glass or split in half). Many will have red marks on the back of the abdomen as well as white stripes on the sides. Males - Usually have red or yellow stripes or spots across the back. Infant Widows of both sex usually look more like the adult males.

Cephalothorax - Approximately half the size of the abdomen, it is also glossy black but has no markings.

Legs - Both, Male and Female have long thin black legs. Though the male is much smaller than the female, it has longer looking legs. In some cases, the legs will have bands of red around them.

Size
- Females are approximately 1.5 inches including their legs. Males are much smaller.

Bite Info - Though the Black Widow is the most venomous spider in the United States, less than 1% of its bites will result in death. Young children and elderly adults are most at risk of fatality if the bite injects its venom. Often it can bite without actually injecting any venom, leaving its bite harmless. However, if after being bitten, the victim begins feeling muscle cramps or abdominal pain, they should go to a hospital. Hospitals have medicines to counter the venom as well as reduce the symptoms.

Other Notes - There are a few different Genus of the Black Widow. The Northern Black Widow would likely be the one found in Michigan in Michigan.

In some cases, the Black Widow will have more of a brown coloring to it.

Genus - Latrodectus variolus

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Arachnophobia: The Fear of Spiders

It is one of the most common phobias in the United States. The Fear of Spiders and other arachnids! But just why is it we are afraid of spiders? How do we get over those fears?

When I was a kid, my friend and I used to collect spiders. We had our jar and we went around finding spiders to add to the jar. Even then we feared them enough not to handle them. We didn't want to take a chance of being bitten. Where did that fear come from?

I don't believe we are naturally afraid of spiders. As infants, we usually do not see a spider and start crying. Our fears of them are taught to us as we grow up. We may see our mothers freak out when they see a spider. We may be bit by one and learn quickly they can hurt. We may see scenes from movies like the old black and white film of the giant tarantula destroying the army. Little bits and pieces are fed into our learning brains and being so young, we soak that information up like Bounty soaks up coffee in Rosie's diner. Okay, old Quicker Picker Upper reference. Bad joke.

The fact is however, we are afraid of something we shouldn't be. Growing up, we learn that a dog growling is dangerous. A dog with a panting tongue likely is not. We learn that we should not touch hot pans. We can love drinking milk, it is good for you, but if it smells sour or pours out in globs, it is best not to drink it. These same rules hold true for spiders. Most spiders are completely harmless to us. Some can bite and leave a little sting. Very few are considered dangerous. We can easily recognize the dangerous ones with very little studying. Very few people do not already know what the Black Widow spider looks like. If you see a black spider with a red hourglass? Do not touch!

Here in Michigan there is much less to fear than the rest of the United States and then that has a lot less to fear then the rest of the world. But this is a Michigan Spider site, so I will be more specific. In Michigan, there are virtually no real dangers from spiders. There might be a few Northern Black Widows in the lower boundaries of Michigan, but they are rare. The only Brown Recluses you will likely find are spiders transported in from a trip down south. During our cold winters, they die and need to be transported here again the next year. After those two spiders, we have very little to worry about. The Yellow Sac spider can do some damage on the rare occasion, but most of the time its bite will only cause a slight itchiness and maybe a small rash. People will talk about the Wolf Spider being dangerous. It is not considered to actually be dangerous however. In fact, its venom is not dangerous at all. Its only real danger comes from the possibility of it carrying MRSA. Yet the rare cases of that happening still have not proven to me it was the spider bite that caused it or if it was just a case of MRSA thought to be from a spider bite. The complete truth is that "danger wise", we have very, very little to be afraid of Spiders.

Yet another fact is that we ARE afraid of spiders, and whether or not it is justified, it doesn't change the fact that we are indeed afraid of them. So then the question is what do we do about it? My advice is to learn about them.

As I said, when I was a kid, I collected them. I was not afraid of them. That changed however. When I was still young, I had a nightmare that I was laying down and covered with spiders. My entire body was absolutely blanketed with spiders. That dream was the beginning to my arachnophobia. For many years I was afraid of spiders. Not to the point of running from them, but enough so that I gave them a clear distance until I had a paper towel (a couple sheets), a good shoe and a long rubber band! If the spider was near the ceiling and my aim was off enough to only knock it down, I had the shoe for the termination and the paper towel to clean the mess. If my aim was good that day, then I had no problem getting a chair and getting close to clean what was left.

Still, my interest in them never completely left me. Once in a while, I would see a spider I have never seen before and start looking it up on-line. I was bothered by the fact that several different people told me a spider was a wolf spider and they all were talking about different spiders. Then I was even more disturbed by the fact that when I tried to look up spiders, I could find very little useful information pertaining to spiders here in Michigan. There are over 30,000 kinds of spiders in the world. Some scientist believe as many as 50,000 and maybe even as much as 100,000. That is a lot of spiders to go through, so I decided to start making a site on only spiders found in Michigan. No easy task, but I figured it will make other peoples searches much easier in the end. The more I looked at pictures and the more I read about spiders, the less I was afraid of them.

The pics you find in Michigan Spiders that I took are mostly of spiders I caught. I would catch them in a container, then let them loose on the counter and use a pen or something to direct their path until they finally stopped moving. Then I would take the pictures, placing my camera (while set on Macro) right up close to them.

My wife is more afraid of them than I by far. She wont even kill them. Yet in the last couple of weeks, she has got up the courage to get my container and catch two spiders and a weird beetle. I cannot tell you what an accomplishment that was.

The fact is, the more you understand something, the more you are around something, the less you fear it. If you have arachnophobia, try just reading about spiders. If you can handle it, try just looking at all kinds of spiders on the Internet. When you see one in real life, try studying it more. Look it up on the Internet and learn more about it. The more comfortable you become with the sight of them and the more knowledge you have of them, you will learn there is less reason to fear them. Knowledge is power. In this case, knowledge can give you power over your fears.

Lately I have been considering letting a spider crawl on me. To let one crawl on my hand while I study it. That is a huge step from where I was before I started Michigan Spiders. I will start off slow. Maybe one of those little jumping spiders. Someday I will try a Garden Orb Weaver. It might be a while before I try a Grass spider simply because of how fast they are. It might freak me out if I pick one of those up and it suddenly sprints up my arm.

So now you know some of my secrets. Yes, the guy who created Michigan Spiders and identifies the spiders you email (or attempts to at least), is afraid of spiders. But there is no shame in being afraid of something. There is however, a little shame in not trying to face those fears. I have made strides simply by becoming more acquainted and knowledgeable when it comes to the world of arachnids. Soon, very soon, I will take the next step.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Submitted Pics - Wolf Spiders

 The following are pictures of Wolf Spiders that have been submitted to me by others living in Michigan. In doing this, I am able to show pictures of spiders in Michigan that I myself have not seen, as well as more pics of those I have posted officially as being in Michigan.

Please understand that the Wolf Spiders in this section may or may not be indigenous to Michigan. I would hope that others would be honest and actually send pics of Wolf Spiders they have actually found in Michigan, but I cannot make any guarantees.

I would also like to thank all of those listed below for their kindness in sending me these pics and giving me permission to use them as well as their first name and city.


WOLF SPIDERS....

Amy - Belleville Mi.



Skip - ??? Mi.



Sandy - Canton, Mi.



Lindsey - ??? Mi.



Jennifer - Northern Mi.



Jeremiah - ??? Mi.



Sherri - Freemont, Mi.



April - West Mi.



Terri - Twin Lake, Mi.






Alicia - Grand Blanc, Mi.

Submitted Pics - Orb Weaver Spiders

The following are pictures of Orb Weaver Spiders that have been submitted to me by others living in Michigan. In doing this, I am able to show pictures of spiders in Michigan that I myself have not seen, as well as more pics of those I have posted officially as being in Michigan.

Please understand that the Orb Weaver Spiders in this section may or may not be indigenous to Michigan. I would hope that others would be honest and actually send pics of Orb Weaver Spiders they have actually found in Michigan, but I cannot make any guarantees.

I would also like to thank all of those listed below for their kindness in sending me these pics and giving me permission to use them as well as their first name and city.


Marilyn - Traverse City

Submitted Pics - Jumping Spiders

The following are pictures of Jumping Spiders that have been submitted to me by others living in Michigan. In doing this, I am able to show pictures of spiders in Michigan that I myself have not seen, as well as more pics of those I have posted officially as being in Michigan.

Please understand that the Jumping Spiders in this section may or may not be indigenous to Michigan. I would hope that others would be honest and actually send pics of Jumping Spiders they have actually found in Michigan, but I cannot make any guarantees.

I would also like to thank all of those listed below for their kindness in sending me these pics and giving me permission to use them as well as their first name and city.

Daring Jumping Spiders...

Michigan Spiders - Daring Jumping Spider-1Romy - Coloma Mi.


Michigan Spiders - Daring Jumping Spider-2Nikki - Howell Mi.


Michigan Spiders - Daring Jumping Spider-3aJustin - Howell, Mi.


Michigan Spiders - Daring Jumping Spider-3Justin - Howell, Mi.



Other Jumping Spiders...

Michigan Spiders - Jumping Spider-1Romy - Coloma Mi.


Michigan Spiders - Jumping Spider-2Jenilee - Central Lake, Mi.


Michigan Spiders - Jumping Spider-3Jenilee - Central Lake, Mi.


Michigan Spiders - Jumping Spider-4Dustin - Madison Heights, Mi.

Submitted Pics - Nursery Web Spiders

The following are pictures of Nursery Web Spiders that have been submitted to me by others living in Michigan. In doing this, I am able to show pictures of spiders in Michigan that I myself have not seen as well as more pics of those I have posted officially as being in Michigan.

Please understand that the Nursery Web Spiders in this section may or may not be indigenous to Michigan. I would hope that others would be honest and actually send pics of spiders they have actually found in Michigan, but I cannot make any guarantees.

I would also like to thank all of those listed below for their kindness in sending me these pics and giving me permission to use them as well as their first name and city.

Jenny - Rogers City area - (Her husband found it while hunting in the area.)



Kate - Auburn Hills Mi. - (I believe this to be a Nursery Web Spider, even after originally thinking it a Wolf Spider. I am still not positive on this one.)



Katlin - Plainwell Mi.



Monica - Canadian Lakes Mi.



Jamie - Jennison Mi.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Describing Your Spider

Whenever possible, if you can send a picture, that is the optimal way for me to help identify your spiders. However, I understand perfectly well, it is not always possible to get a picture. Some people do a decent job of describing their spiders but some others do not. So I thought I would offer a few tips on describing your spider.

1) Color and markings. Any special markings can often be a quick way to identifying a spider. The Zebra like black and white stripes of some Jumping Spiders for instance. The red hourglass of the Black Widow (though I don't expect you to see those in Michigan too often).

2) Body shape and Legs. Some spiders have long legs and others short. Some spiders have round abdomens and others have smaller thin or lengthy abdomens.

3) Size can help. It is not real important but more than just saying the size, what helps is what you are describing about the size. Is the body the size of a nickle or does that include the legs too? Are the legs around the same length at the body or twice as long?

4) The hardest thing to describe, but very helpful if you can do it, is the eye pattern. Many spiders have eight eyes but some have only six. Some spiders have two horizontal rows of four eyes each but the Wolf Spider for instance is quite different. They have one horizontal row of four smaller eyes. Above those is a pair of larger eyes and again above those is another pair of medium sized eyes.

5) If you see the spider in a web, it can even help to say if the web is a round vertical web, a flat horizontal sheet, does it end in a funnel shape? Maybe the web looks like a scattered mess?

No one of these alone can identify a spider. Two of these may and may not be enough to identify your spider. The more info you can give, the easier it is to identify a spider, but even if you give every one of these, it is not a guarantee that it will be identified. In some cases it just cannot be identified by a description, but the more you can give the better the chances.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wolf Spider

Michigan Spiders - Wolf Spider-3
Michigan Spiders - Wolf Spider-2
Michigan Spiders - Wolf Spider-1The Wolf Spider pictured in the above three images was only about the size of a nickle (legs included). Since it is only early May, I would expect to find them a bit larger in the Fall.

Identification – There are several different looking Wolf Spiders, so I mentioned some of the more common patterns seen in Michigan. The best way to identify a Wolf Spider is by the eye pattern. Wolf Spiders have a row of four smaller eyes with a set of two large eyes higher up. Above the larger eyes is yet another set of two medium sized eyes to make it eight eyes in all.

Abdomen – Different species of the Wolf Spider have different patterns. Some appear not to have any markings. Some have a striped pattern that matches the look of their abdomen.

Cephalothorax – Often with a striped pattern running from front to back it is also common to see them with stripes that radiate out from the center.

Female Size - NA

Male Size - NA

Bite Info – There are no real dangerous Wolf Spiders indigenous to North America. Their bites can sometimes cause some swelling, itching and some pain, but no long term or life threatening effects.

UPDATE:
There is a belief that the Wolf Spider can carry the MRSA Infection. I have not found absolute proof saying they can or cannot.

I do know that it is very common for doctors to misdiagnose infections as spider bites. My personal belief is that cases of a Wolf Spider biting someone and giving them the MRSA Infection is due to either a misdiagnose or the person in question already having the infection on their skin and when they are bitten, it then gets inside and becomes dangerous.

Other Notes – A common species of the Wolf Spider is very similar to the common Grass Spider in looks. They often do not have quite the same striping but the most assured way to tell them apart is by the eye pattern as mentioned above.

Wolf Spiders usually do not spin webs like most spiders do. Though they have the ability to, they often only do so to attach their eggs to their abdomen and carry them around. Once the babies hatch, they will continue to ride around on the mother’s back until they are large enough to fend for themselves.

Genus - Acantholycosa