1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Mactans or Hesperus?

Discussion in 'True Spiders & Other Arachnids' started by Savvo, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. Savvo

    Savvo Arachnopeon

    I caught a widow in my front yard a few days ago, and after doing a little research I am a confused on the id of the species. I do not have a digital camera, otherwise I would post pics. The one I caught has a perfect red hourglass on the underside that fades into yellow at the points of the hourglass. Secondly, it also has a small red splotch just beyond the cephalothorax where the abdomen begins, on the spiders backside. The splotch is about 1/2 the size of the hourglass, spherical in shape. I read that hesperus has separated hourglass markings on the underside of the abdomen, while the mactans does not. Can you even catch a mactans in california? Do I possibly have a young widow with 1 more molt to go, or would this be a "patterned" hesperus? Your help is greatly appreciated.
  2. cacoseraph

    cacoseraph ArachnoGod Old Timer


    mactans do not make it even close to sacramento

    there is definitely some confusion there, though. i bet you can still find posts of mine saying i was catching mactans in CA. a number of, er..."fun", books i have read say mactans when they mean hesperus.

    hesperus have a crazy range of adult colorations... almost solid black (i could only see the FAINT "hourglass" with a flashed digipic) to black with a complete and "touching" hourglass to particolored (like, retains a fair degree of subadult coloration).
  3. KUJordan

    KUJordan Arachnobaron Old Timer

    here's my ID method for hesperus/mactans. some disagree with me as to whether this works or not, but hey it's not easy either way.

    i think the broken/whole hourglass thing is pretty sketchy, unless you know you're dealing with an L. variolus. L. hesperus generally have sharp points on all 4 of the corners of their hourglass. L. mactans usually have a heavy anvil-shaped posterior end of their hourglass with the two posterior corners more rounded. L. mactans also usually has a "teardrop" of red on the dorsal side of their abdomen on the posterior end "dropping" down to the spinnerets. The red markings on any other part of the abdomen I think are pretty inconclusive because I've seen both hesperus and mactans with pretty solid red stripes on the dorsal side of their abdomen.

    anyway, I hope this helps. and as to whether L. mactans can be found in CA, the answer is absolutely.
  4. cacoseraph

    cacoseraph ArachnoGod Old Timer


    typically only crappy stuff that is from outdated resources says mactans is in CA... i think it is a result of the time when EVERYTHING in the USA was considered mactans
  5. JPD

    JPD Arachnobaron Old Timer

    What information do you have to support the contrary? The belief that everything was essentially L.mactans included the idea that it was worldwide not just limited to the US.
    There is no reason to believe that L.mactans would not exist in California considering L.geometricus populations are popping-up in Southern California with the original US introduction in Florida.
    They are quite prolific and since geographical ranges are constantly changing......