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, November 19, 2014

Getting a Spider Identified

Did you find a spider that is nothing like any you have seen before? Or maybe you see the spider all the time and finally just want to learn more about it. Well, I am sad to inform you that like everything else in this world, there are rules to abide by.  Please follow the rules below as much as you can.

Please leave the following info in the body of the email.
1) First and Last name.
2) City and State where the spider was found. (If you are from outside of Michigan, please send it to ( instead.
3)  Information on where it was found might help. In a bedroom, attic, barn, or out in the garden, a wood pile, etc...

WARNING -- By sending me a picture, you are giving me permission to use the picture in one of my sites, or in my book, if I should choose to do so. Any pictures I use, I will place your name and city where it was found beneath the picture as the photographer.  Most people do not mind this, but if you should for some reason not wish me to use either your first or last name, the city you put in the email, or even the picture itself, you must make it clear what you do not wish me to use. If by chance I make a mistake and use the wrong info, please email me and I will correct it.

The more detail the better. When trying to identify spiders by pictures, I prefer to see pictures looking at the top of the spider. If I can see the shape of the two body parts, the colors, and the markings, it will go a long way to getting the spider correctly identified. If you have a good enough camera and are not afraid to get a good close macro shot of its eye pattern, that can also help immensely.

Please attach the picture as its own file to the email. If I open the email and can see the picture in with where you would write a message, this often works against me. The problem with it is that I cannot zoom into the picture while it is in the email and if I save it from the email, it will save it the same size as I see it in the email. So when I do zoom in then, it will pixilate immediately. Most pictures are larger files so that if you look at it at 100%, it is much larger than the screen. That is what I want. The original picture file attached to the email, for me to download to my spider pictures folder. That way when I open it in a viewer, I can zoom in and see more detail before it pixilates. However, if you do send it in a way I do not like and I ask for it differently, please do not feel offended. I am never upset with any picture. I just might ask for it in a different way in order to better my chances of helping you. And if you for some reason cannot do it the way I ask, just let me know and I will give you the best answer I can with what I got.

Another reason I like the pictures of spiders as attached files, is because it allows me to look through my emails and find the emails with attachments easier.

-- Files attached to emails.
-- Tops of spiders and possibly eye patterns are most important.
-- The clearer the better. The blurrier it is, the harder it is for me to identify.
-- A picture of the web is sometimes helpful too.

If you have a picture of any quality, I would prefer you to send that with the description to give me the best chance of success. If you do decide to describe the spider, please give as much of the following description as possible....
-- Shape of the abdomen
-- Size of abdomen in comparison to the front body part
-- Colors and markings on the abdomen, front body part, and legs.
-- Are the legs banded or a solid color?
-- Are the legs super thin or thick?
-- Do the legs have spiny hairs on them?
-- Describe the web (if a web is present).

Keep in mind that it can be extremely difficult to identify a spider by a description. Most cases will likely end up nothing more than a possible ID and a pure guess. Often, not even that much. There are simply too many spiders that can look too much like others and it would be just a tiny mark or shape that might tell me what it is. Even with a good clear detailed picture, there or times when I cannot help. But you have my word, I will always do my best.

This will not happen too often. It is only in certain circumstances where I will give my address out to someone to send me a spider. Usually, these extreme cases are because it happens to be a spider I really want to look at. Far more often, if I cannot identify it and it is important enough to you are to me, I will give you the info to send the specimen to an entomologist I am in contact with, as they have far more knowledge than I do and can put it under the microscope to look at the genitalia in order to give a 100% positive identification.


If the spider was not found in Michigan, please email the request to SPIDERGUIDE@HOTMAIL.COM
(Please! Remember to inform me what state it was found!)

If the spider was in fact found in Michigan, please email the request to MICHIGANSPIDERS@HOTMAIL.COM


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Where are the Spiders?

I am seeing very few spiders this year. In fact, I have not had to use my spider catching jar even once since Winter finally retired.  Today my site had less than 400 visitors and I received zero emails.  So I thought I would use a few moments before I go to bed and promote my other site, the Spider Guide.

The new site is far from finished and still nowhere near as filled with spiders as Michigan Spiders is, but its started. I will be honest, I created it from selfishness. Michigan Spiders has kept me busy in the warm months, but overall for a year, it has brought in very little income. In a normal summer, I will answer up to a dozen emails every night, identifying spiders for people. Sometimes I will spend twice as much time looking up spiders I am not very familiar with. I have done this for four years for no other reason than to help people out. And I will never charge anyone for my help.  I get my money through Google Ads and that is pretty much it. To be honest, it really doesnt add up to much.

I have grown tired of being broke and juggling bills to survive because my regular job doesnt pay enough.  It gets tiring knowing my wife always has to stress over our finances. But I cannot and will not charge people for helping them. Then a thought came to me. Michigan is only one state.

I started considering how much it would help if I was getting the same amount of emails from every state. To be honest, it might not be enough to retire from the automotive engineering field, but it would make a huge difference to getting my bills paid and my wife not worrying about if we can afford to by new socks.

Unfortunately, there is a problem. Getting the Spider Guide found by people in other states.

If you have asked me to identify a spider before, please ask yourself if you were satisfied with my replies. Was I polite, prompt, accurate with my ID?  If you were happy with my help, or if Michigan Spiders was a help to you, I would ask you for a small favor.  Head over to the Spider Guide and look around. Click on the Google+1 button, follow it. These are the things that will help the Spider Guide be found in searches.

In the mean time, please feel free to continue to use Michigan Spiders and send me pictures to ID.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Michigan Spiders Apologizes

It is the complete intentions of Michigan Spiders to be a source of good information that can be trusted, to help others learn about spiders with the belief that fear is trumped by knowledge. Recently, someone pointed out to me that I have done something that can be very counter productive to the latter.

You see, the one spider that is most feared in Michigan is the Brown Recluse. Even though the Brown Recluse is not indigenous to Michigan, and it is actually a rare case one is found, it is still the most feared spider.

The problem is, the recluse does not like to spread about like most spiders. A colony can start in a house (down south of course), and it can thrive for years and the house next door will likely never see one. When it establishes itself, it stays there. When eggs hatch, they stay in that vicinity. But they like to make their homes in boxes and things and when a family packs up and moves, they often take a few of the spiders with them. In most cases, the spiders they take with them are either male or a female that has not mated recently. So sometimes a rogue Brown Recluse is found in a state where they are not indigenous. On a very rare case, a female Recluse will be transported, lay eggs and a small colony will develop in a state where they are supposed to be.

Now keep in mind that even though a small colony might develop in a state where they dont belong, this does not mean they are becoming indigenous to that state. Remember, they are extremely reclusive and do not spread from their habitat unless something forces them to move. So instead of spreading through that state and becoming native to that state, they stay in the one building they are in and wait to be found and exterminated. If they establish a small colony in a tree or barn, and it is a cold weather state, they die during the winter.

Here in Michigan, most people believe they are indigenous to the state. When I tried to explain that they are not here, I had numerous debates, in comments and in emails, with people insisting they are here. Everyone seems to know someone who was bit by a recluse because their doctor diagnosed them with a Brown Recluse bite. Even though the spider was never seen, identified, or caught. Even though it is actually impossible for a doctor to identify a recluse bite by the wound alone. There are no tests that can positively identify a recluse bite. So when one Brown Recluse is discovered here in Michigan, there will be people who will use that as absolute proof that they do exist in Michigan. Imagine what it must mean then, when a small colony is discovered.

I will admit that something like this happened last year where a woman's house was found to have a small colony. Then less than a year later, a gentleman found a rogue recluse spider in his home. He gets a lot of packages from out of state and since he has not found any others, it is simple to figure out his spider was transported into the state. I was writing articles in Michigan Spiders about these sightings. Giving details on what cities they were discovered and such, thinking I was just writing an interesting news story about such an infamous spider being found here. What I did not consider was how these articles would be taken.

Some, maybe even most, would read these articles for what I meant them to be. An interesting story. However, whether I like it or not, too many would read these articles and their minds would wrap around one simple fact. The dreaded Brown Recluse is being found in Michigan! It wouldn't matter that these two cases are only two of the possibly five or six sightings ever actually identified here in Michigan, or that the reputation of the Brown Recluse makes the spider far more dangerous than it really is. Their minds would read those points, but their fears would push those facts aside and focus on the simple fact that the dreaded Brown Recluse was sighted in Michigan.

So articles meant to be news worthy and harmless, against my better intentions, would do just the opposite of what I want Michigan Spiders to be about. Those articles would cause fear and promote the myth of the Brown Recluse being in Michigan. Because this was pointed out to me, and by someone I have utmost respect for, I had to step back and consider whether it was good to have those articles on Michigan Spiders or not. In the end, I decided that it would make very little difference for people to know the spider was sighted in Michigan, but could be a launching pad for more fear and missinformation, so I have removed those articles from my site.

I apologize to those who were interested in the sightings, and to those who may have been effected by the sightings. Rest assured that if enough sightings happened within a span of time to make me believe there was even a chance that the Brown Recluse was becoming indigenous, I would be more for warning people than calming fears. But right now that is not the case. If you made it your mission to find a Brown Recluse in Michigan, the odds would be very high that you will die of old age and never see one. So because the odds of ever seeing one are so slim, I cannot in good faith, leave articles that will have the ability to cause fear and add to a myth for no good reason.