I have received and examined specimens of this find, and can confirm that the species is indeed Cithaeron praedonius, and the first record for North America. Thanks to Tarantula Hawk for the lead. We'll be putting out a full report soon. Incidentally, the eggsac sent to me hatched, with 15 spiderlings.
It was really great that Dr. Edwards was able to take a look into this for us, and I was quite fortunate to be able to get two live specimens to him for analysis.
Silberrücken - Dr. Edwards has a pretty good record of collection dates that I provided him, and they're also in a .pdf that he and his colleagues put together and e-mailed to me regarding this new record.
Dr. Edwards is going to be (hopefully) swinging by this coming Wednesday, so we'll see if we can find any more of these guys while he's here.
Couldn't be phrased any better than Silberrucken has. Congrats, xhexdx, on this amazing find! Keen eyes you have, and thanks to your interest and sharing with us here, we learned something new and exciting!
That is awesome, Joe! And neat that the other contributors were mentioned in the article, too.
We've caught a couple of similar-looking spiders a few days apart here in Tallahassee in our house too. One I let go immediately outside, and the other I kept for a few hours in a deli cup, and it had very similar markings on the abdomen as the female in your pics, Joe. After I was done studying it, I let it go outside. It's either lived happily and possibly found its mate or become food for one of the many Mediterranean house geckos we have around here.
Did Dr. Edwards think the only thing possible for their introduction here in FL would be the crickets you buy or the Repticons? I just have to think that the way we as a society travel and ship merchandise globally would be a possible mode of transport for all kinds of critters.