Can someone please help me ID this possible Lactrodectus?

satanslilhelper

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I was cleaning the lobby windows at my store and I saw an hourglass on some spidey's abdomens. I proceeded to capture all that I could find before our manager gets the exterminator(shiver!!) out to kill them off. I found what I think is three females and a male. Please help me ID this beauty!!







 

cacoseraph

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imean, kinda the only thing that makes sense is L. variolus, but for some reason i am a tiny bit hesitant

it's probably that, though
 

satanslilhelper

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imean, kinda the only thing that makes sense is L. variolus, but for some reason i am a tiny bit hesitant

it's probably that, though
I agree that it looks really close, but the abdomen patterns don't fit. I'm in Alabama where we usually find mactans of course. This looks to me like someone released something not normally found in this area.

I take your advice seriously. You're one of my more highly respected members of this site. Think about this for awhile if you will.

I did find 3 females and a male so I'll try to breed all of the girls. It's funny, I noticed how much faster the males are compared to the girls. It makes sense of course seeing as how widows are known for eating their mating partners. Which I've heard is exaggerated.
 

Widowman10

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hahaha that's funny.

anyways, in alabama you have both variolus and mactans. variolus extend pretty far, both west and north, and of course way down to florida. variolus tend to have stronger dorsal coloring and patterns, but mactans is also known to have some pretty good coloring (case in point L. mactans mexicanus supposedly ;), among some other southern individuals). if you are finding males, that is very helpful. post a pic and size of the male. var males are the largest, and mac males are the smallest. abdominal patterns can be highly variable. if you want more info, cruise around here for awhile.
 

satanslilhelper

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i would just google it myself =P

bugguide says LF up to Canada http://bugguide.net/node/view/26421
LOL!! I was just looking at that site when you submitted this earlier tonight!!

I'm satisfied that we have effectively identified this one. They look incredible!! I'm going to go ahead and do a free handling video. Hopefully, I won't be another individual for spike tv's 100 ways to die shows. It seems like there isn't much to worry about other than a neurotoxic bite.:rolleyes: Seriously, I think it's good for people to see that they're not as deadly and dangerous as is perceived. Yet, caution should always be used with anything like this of course.
 

Terry D

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Hey y'all, Don't know how far out of range it might be but it sure bears an uncanny resemblance to L bishopi I've seen in Florida.

Terry
 

satanslilhelper

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Hey y'all, Don't know how far out of range it might be but it sure bears an uncanny resemblance to L bishopi I've seen in Florida.

Terry
That was the first species I looked up when I got home. It looks very similar, but it lacks the red that they have. I really think Caco is right on the more that I look at pics of the L. variolus. They're definitely eye-catching little buggers!!
 

Terry D

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S'l'helper, I'm not well studied at all in clinal variability of Latro's and Caco is probably right. variolus in our area don't frequently show the white edging to the red spots above, , although they're a good deal less common ime than mactans. L bishopi was hard to come by when I was in Florida but I'll agree- they always had entirely reddish legs and a varying degree on prosoma. Terry
 

Terry D

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How about a picture of the hourglass?
Jsloan, Sadly, it's been quite some time since I spent any waking moments studying spiders in general for the past 8-10 years. Most of my attention since then has been diverted to Aves and Leps (mostly butterflies of latter). However, I do remember using a split hourglass as problematic because both variolus and mactans seemed to show varying degrees of this. It was quite confusing. Certainly not calling you out or anything. Refresh us. :) Terry
 

jsloan

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Jsloan, Sadly, it's been quite some time since I spent any waking moments studying spiders in general for the past 8-10 years. Most of my attention since then has been diverted to Aves and Leps (mostly butterflies of latter). However, I do remember using a split hourglass as problematic because both variolus and mactans seemed to show varying degrees of this. It was quite confusing ... Refresh us. :)
Kaston (How to Know the Spiders, 1972) mentions that, for L. mactans the posterior half of the hourglass is "more generally a rounded rectangle than a triangle, and wider than the anterior half." In "Spiders of Connecticut" (1980) he does mention that the hourglass is variable and often broken. So, it's a longshot, but I thought I'd ask for a picture in case this one had a full hourglass.

Certainly not calling you out or anything.
No problem. I'm a big believer in peer review and double checking facts or assertions. Helps to keep the BS level down in here. :)

I don't have much experience with IDing Latrodectus sp., since they're not in my area and so I don't see many of them. So, what about the hourglass? If it is full, could it be used as a diagnostic feature in any way?
 

Terry D

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J, Thanks for some clarification. I've always played it a bit too safe when attempting to identify these afield- pretty much sticking to lack of or faint markings dorsally combined with moreless complete hourglass for L mactans to dorsally faintly to profusely marked and moreless broken hourglass for variolus. Incidentally, variolus had not been described for nw La. up until fairly recently (~10 years) when Dr. Laurence hardy began compiling a checklist of spiders for nw La. and specimen(s) were brought in. After looking at them, I mentioned that I'd seen spiders with the broken hourglass fairly frequently. However, I quickly realized shortly afterward afield that there was quite a bit of variability ranging from those marked fairly profusely dorsally with complete double-triangle hourglass to no markings above and broken below, etc. Tough, to say the least.

Trues are certainly the way to go in our area in terms of field study as we certainly aren't "myg-poor". Another species that eludes me is Sphodros rufipes. I've yet to find a tube-web or a live individual here. Dr Hardy has found them. I believe that genus name has changed but can't currently remember to what? Cheers, Terry
 

jsloan

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hourglass patterns since there were several posts discussing this.
Nice. You have a great site on these spiders.

Elsewhere on that site you wrote:

-Males often destroy the females web prior to mating ...
Interesting! I've seen this in Steatoda borealis (Theridiidae) and Pityohyphantes costatus (Linyphiidae) as well. The males of those species go to work on the web almost as soon as they touch it, and don't approach her until they're finished.

You mention how closely related some of the Latrodectus species are. Are the epigynes different enough to distinguish them, or are they separated on the basis of range, behavior, appearance, etc? (There are a couple of wolf spiders in Alberta that are listed as separate species based on their range and differing courtship behaviors, even though the epigynes are identical.)
 
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