A Mystery Neon Blue Back Spider

misselle

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 12, 2016
Messages
3
Hello,

This is my first time posting here. Sorry if this is the wrong forum area!

I remembered today a memory from about 15 years ago. I was in elementary school and there was a strange spider on the playground for a few days, living under the balance beam until some boys killed the poor thing. I always wondered what kind of spider it was since we don't get many colored spiders in my Northern Indiana city. The playground had wood chips, if that says anything about habitat. I remember seeing it crawl out from a tight spot where the balance beam connected to other playground fixtures. It would just hang out in the open and chill while kids were playing.

The spider was the size of a quarter with a large abdomen. It's back had a neon blue triangle or maybe diamond shape on it. Otherwise I think it was black. I can't find anything on it online. It's really been bugging me for years. I remembered hearing a camp story about a mad scientist in the area who let lose a venomous spider of a similar description, but that seems unlikely to me. If anyone has any info, let me know! Sorry I don't have any pics!

Thanks!

-E
 

chanda

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
2,059
Blue is certainly an unusual color for a spider - particularly in the US. (There are exotics - such as tarantulas - that can be quite vividly blue, but the only way you'd find one of those in Indiana is if it was an escaped pet.) Without a picture it's really difficult to say what you saw, but here are a few spiders that can appear blue:

Some jumping spiders (particularly in the genus Phidippus) have bright metallic blue/green chelicerae: http://bugguide.net/node/view/795204/bgimage

There are also some spiders that are such a deep, glossy black that they can appear blue - at least in the right light - like this Castianeira: http://bugguide.net/node/view/572383/bgimage

The Silver Argiope can also appear blueish in the right light: http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2013/02/18/orbweaver-from-mexico-might-be-silver-argiope/

And in Florida, there are some blue and black Purseweb spiders - but I doubt you'd find them in Northern Indiana: http://floridabackyardspiders.com/p...piders-photo/purseweb-spider-male-sphodr.html https://www.flickr.com/photos/tamers1/8982569614/in/album-72157650469582782/ http://bugguide.net/node/view/58185
 

TeaandTs

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
31
I agree with the above posters who suggested Phidippus Audax. This is because of a very similar experience I had as a child. A spider jumped on me while I was sitting in the back of my father's car, and my initial impression of it was a huge, bright blue spider that BLINKED at me. It was the strangest thing I had ever seen in my life, and I was extremely excited and interested. But when I looked at it closer, it was just a Phidippus Audax, and only the chelicerae were blue---actually more iridescent blue and green. Its eyes really were enormous, thought of course it hadn't actually blinked at me---just the light glinting off. My point is, we can see things pretty differently as children.

Behaviourally, it fits too. I keep this species as well as observe them extensively in the wild. They are diurnal and enjoy basking in the sun during the day, right out in the open. They are also quite bold (thus the name!) and inquisitive; they're programmed to follow movement, and that means they watch us just the way we watch them. My specimen who lives in a jar on my desk will sit and watch me all the time. In fact, she's watching me type right now. So your description of your one watching the kids play sounds just like a Phidippus Audax to me.

Though the camp story is a lot more interesting, I'll admit...
 

misselle

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 12, 2016
Messages
3
Phidippus Audaxes are so cute! Unless my memory is lying to me, it had the body of a black widow or false black widow, sleek and black, with no fuzz. But instead of the week known red hourglass mark, it had a bright blue, almost turquoise but not greenish diamond or triangle on its back. My memory could be lying to me. However, I did stare at it for a good 15 minutes during recess two days in a row, so I'd like to think my memory is accurate. Who knows though!
 
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