CLOSED: Black spider with red back - I'm freaked - what is it?

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

It is not a black widow - we have black widows. They have a red hour glass shape on their abdomen.

This spider came out of a potted shefflera plant from a florist. It was black, about 1/2" in diameter, and had a orange/red mark on it's back. The mark was shaped like a fat exclamation point without the point or a baseball bat. It was wider at one end than the other.

I did not think to get a photo. I was a little freaked - have never seen anything like it before and aren't red spots supposed to signal 'danger'???? It was in the bathtub so it got washed down the drain. When I started trying to id it on the internet all I could find was this venemous spider from Austrailia - the redback spider - which isn't making me feel any better. (do sheffleras come from Austrailia???) I'm trying not to be too worried but I keep thinking there are others now in my house. We already have black widows and brown recluse. We don't need any more scary spiders! Can anyone tell me what kind of spider this might be?

Huntington, AR

I live in Western Arkansas, and too have seen the red-backed spider. I also thought maybe it was the Australian Redback, having heard that it has escaped into parts of the deep south from shipments. But after looking the red-backed spider you are talking about is a variation of the regular black widow...here's a site with some more info.
http://entomology.uark.edu/museum/widow.html
I save spiders when I find them in the house, I even leave the black widows alone if they're not too close to the house, but I kill the brown recluses when I find them, though I hate seeing a spider die. Weird, I know, but I had tarantulas as a kid, and it's a little known fact that if it were not for spiders, mankind would not exist...the world would have long ago been taken over by insects.

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Hi peachespickett, where is Huntington? Did you get an invite to the Arkansas Round-Up being held at my home this Saturday? If not, go to this thread to get details. We would love to have you join us. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/815485/

When googling 'black spider red back' all I got was the Australian redback spider. Creepy! It appears to have a rounder body than the one in my tub. And yes, you are right, it is their version of our black widow. I learned more about black widows than I wanted to know a few years ago when discovering they are the favorite food for dirt daubers. They paralyze imature spiders and stuff them in their mud nests for their babies to eat when they hatch. Yuck! When we knocked down the nests there were all these small yellow and brown spiders inside - alive but paralyzed. Who would have known immature black widows are yellow with yellow and brown legs!

Huntington, AR

I have to work Saturday, which I hate with a passion, but I thank you very much for the invite. I imagine the Round-Ups are a fine, friendly time ...I'm also not a paid subscriber, I am what I refer to as a 'DG bum', or 'DG mooch'.
I do believe it is the immature female black widows that are yellow, and they have a white swirl on their sides, I think. That wasp thing is weird, I guess it's another version of the Tarantula Hawk...people think aliens must be weird, when there are things more strange and terrifying than anything we could find in space, here on our own planet.

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

LOL! Guess you're right about the strange and terrifying things! No need to be a subscriber to come to a RU - everyone is invited.

Thanks for the link. That was an interesting article. This isn't a very good photo, but it's of the immature black widows from inside the dirt dauber nest.

Thumbnail by fleursdefouquet
West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

I couldn't come up with anything for your black and red spider, fleursdefouquet, but you really had me scratching my head with your description of juvenile widow spiders - now I know why! Those are orb weaving spiders in the genus Neoscona:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/129539/bgimage

What an amazing photo, a bunch of paralyzed spiders!

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

claypa, I hope you are right. I cannot find the site where I found photos of spiders exactly like these and were identified as immature widows, but it didn't help that the article talked about black widows being the favorite food of dirt daubers.

Here is a link to a similar photo. http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/spiders/Latrodectus%20hesperus.htm
I agree that your orb spiders do look very much like my paralyzed spiders and it's possible the source I found had them misidentified. I'm hoping.....I'm hoping......

The original red backed spider is still a little worrisome. Can you convince me it was just a harmless orb weaving spider????

Jackson, SC(Zone 8a)

http://www.amonline.net.au/factSheets/red_spotted.htm

Argyrodes

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Thanks for the link, imzadi. That doesn't really look like the one I saw and, again, it's found on another continent! lol! That's what worried me - that the one in my tub was some kind of spider that had been transported over here with tropical plants or something. I DO NOT want to see one again, but if I do I will definitely get a photo of it. I'm still searching sites for something that looks like it but haven't seen one yet.

Jackson, SC(Zone 8a)

eww good luck

Sinks Grove, WV

It could be a jumping spider in the genus Phidippus - several species in this genus have red markings on their back. See http://bugguide.net/node/view/20778/bgimage and http://bugguide.net/node/view/100863/bgimage for a couple of examples.

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

suunto, thanks for the links. There are several jumping spiders that look similar, but their color pattern is opposite of the one I saw. These have red backs with black center mark. The one I saw was all black with a single red mark down the center of it's back. I'll keep looking though as these look more like it than any others.

Blacksburg, SC

I have found many of these IN my home in SC. None outside as of yet. I had my brother take them to Virginia Tech for identification and they said it was some kind of wolf spider but offered no pictures and there is nothing found on the internet about a wolf spider that looks like this. The guy said he saw some in Ohio like it but not in VA or SC. Well i think it is the Red Back spider and I was wondering if someone could identify it. The spider is shiny red, not furry although it has tiny spikes coming off its legs. The stripe is reddish orange. I had some in a jar and they make a cobweb not a pretty web. They get almost on the hind legs when mad and act like they will strike you. They are fast and stand out against any background. I am very concerned this is a Red Back. Help Please.

Thumbnail by supergrover
Blacksburg, SC

Also the stripe is on the top back of the spider no the underside. The underside is just all black. I had 2 in a jar and one seemed bigger than the other. I thought one might be the female and one the male but no mating happened or attacking. Also I did put a bug in there for them to eat but they seemed to have nothing to do with it. I have found them in many rooms in my house. I had the exterminator come out to spray and thought for sure they would go away but it has not helped.

(Zone 10a)

Your spider sounds like a Redback alright Fluers, though I have no idea about them being over there. Can you get a picture? Scheffleras are native here & in New Zealand. They are very commmon, but I doubt your plant was imported. Is there a tag with the plant saying where it was grown? It might be a nursery with Australian plants & an in-house redback population or something.

This message was edited Jun 9, 2008 5:58 PM

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

That's it! That's it! Thanks for the photo, supergrover. Maybe someone can id it for us now. Haven't seen any more here (knock on wood) and hope it stays that way. Sorry to hear you have so many. I'll cross my fingers that, when finally identified, it will be a 'good' spider.

Debra

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Granville - my spider was exactly like the one supergrover shows above.

(Zone 10a)

OK. Well, it isn't a Redback. Redbacks have small, round bodies & a thin stripe. They are quite dainty compared to Grover's. I hope it turns out a native of some type.

Blacksburg, SC

Dear Fleursdefouquet

I knew it was. I just knew when you described it that I had found a friend. I keep trying to get someone to help me identify it.

Well here is something wierd. I am not a native of the area. But I was telling a friend about my struggle and she said that she and her husband who have both lived in the country their who lives just killed one like this. She said she has NEVER seen one like it before.

I just am so worried it is one of the Red Backs. My research indicates they are really infesting Australia. They had to close a whole hospital.

And if the Red Backs are in America we need to make sure we have the antivenom.

The one wierd thing is that many of the pictures I see of the Red Back they have a more round abdoment. This one had an abdoment that on the underside had a more point to it like a bee or something. I don't know the technically.

Well hopefully we will get someone to identify them for us.

(Zone 10a)

Like you say Redbacks are round & also, quite shiny. The picture here shows one exactly how I've seen them all my life ...

http://www.geocities.com/brisbane_weavers/images/Red_Ba9.jpg

If that is one there, it is a mutant from hell. I hope you ID it. I'll have a look round the net but its not anything common here.

This message was edited Jun 9, 2008 6:18 PM

Blacksburg, SC

Yes well it is shiny. I guess the picture does not show that but it is definately shiny not like other spiders I have seen. As far as being dainty this one is dead. I was trying to get a picture and i accidentally pinched it with the tweezers. The legs curled up so it does not look dainty. Maybe it is a mutant. Whatever it is I just want to know.

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

supergrover, do you have any more photos? or can you take any more photos of the underside, etc. ? If you will email them to me I'll send them to our University and any other place that may be able to identify them. If that's agreeable to you I'll dmail you my email address.

What country are you from originally? Have you been here long? welcome!

Debra

Sinks Grove, WV

The spider in the photo definitely is NOT a red-backed spider. Like the black widow, the red-backed spider is in the family Theridiidae (comb-footed/cobweb spiders), and the abdomen is nearly spherical in females. This spider is in the family Clubionidae and the genus Castianeira (see http://www.spiderzrule.com/spider051/IMG_5154_small.JPG for an image); it belongs to a subgroup within this family referred to as 'ant-mimic spiders'; this particular species is thought to resemble a velvet ant (Hymenoptera: Mutillidae). It is harmless to humans.

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

suunto - Thank you so much! and I'm sure supergrover thanks you, too! I'm off to google it now and read more about it. Can definitely see the resemblence to the velvet ant.

supergrover - are you there? Your spiders are not a danger. Good news!

Mystery solved!

Cade, LA

i found this exact spider in my daughter's bedroom this evening. you can imagine my concern. after a couple of hours of searching the internet i stumbled upon your thread. thank god for the internet! and thank you for your post!

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Glad you found this thread, Leah. That's one of the wonderful things about Daves Garden.

Mount Pleasant, NC

I have NEVER seen a spider like this here before but Yesterday I found this same spider in my car. I looked down and saw it hanging around my parking break… I, of course, freaked and started yelling black widow... black widow… Then a Knight in shining amour showed up to slay the poor creature...looking back it was quite comical but at the time… I could have had a heart attack!. Thanks for keeping this thread alive and keeping us spiderphobes in the loop and thus sane... I was very concerned when I could not find any picture that matched my spider.
You guys rock!


This message was edited Jul 16, 2009 7:00 AM

Thumbnail by jlg1067
Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Glad you know what it is now. I would have freaked if it was in my car, too. To bad it had to be killed since it was not venemous (easy for me to say, right?). Black widows have the red mark on their abdomen and you only see it when they are hanging upside down.

Galveston, TX

So is that final? It's a Clubionidae and the genus Castianeira ?
I hope so. I found one crawling next to my 2 year old's feet and it freaked me OUT!!
Please confirm this is correct anyone??? Suunto - thank you for your post.

Melanie

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

Melanie, the link suunto provided is the same type spider I found in my tub. The photo jlg1067 provided also appears to be the same type of spider I found in my tub. Hope this helps.

Shawnee Mission, KS

Hi there. I just spotted a similar spider, but it is reversed with red body and black stripe... legs and head are black too... any help?? Kansas City Area...

Thumbnail by curiousmom
Shawnee Mission, KS

another view

Thumbnail by curiousmom
Shawnee Mission, KS

Last picture....

Thumbnail by curiousmom
Oak Park, IL

While hiking through the Grand Canyon my wife came across this little guy.

Thumbnail by doctedo
Sinks Grove, WV

The spiders of curiousmom and doctedo appear to be jumping spiders (family Salticidae) in the genus Phidippus. See http://tinyurl.com/yfl5a9b for some examples.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

We have the red and black jumping spiders in Colorado, too. Oddly, we have a lot of them in the autumn but I don't see them any other time of year.

Augusta, GA

My husband picked up a leyland cypress today and in it I found a shiny thick black spider with a small orange hourglass or bar on it's back. It was about the size of a quarter and was quite terrifying looking. Can anyone tell me what this spider may be?

Augusta, GA

It looks a little like the one doctedo ran across in the Grand Canyon but not hairy at all just sleek/shiny black.

Sinks Grove, WV

If it was shiny, it might have been a northern black widow spider (Latrodectus variolus); these sometimes have orange markings on the upper side of the abdomen in addition to the 'hourglass' on the underside - see http://tinyurl.com/nrpdg3.

Augusta, GA

I couldn't make your thread work is there another site?

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