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Boy, was this little guy lost.

I found him in the cat litter bag. Doesn't it look like it has a smiley face?

Based on those amazing eyes and its body shape, it is a jumping spider.

Jumping spiders wander around looking for insects. This one hadn't made a good choice and got trapped. I scooped it into a handy container and carried it out to the garden (it is warm here). It watched me the entire time.

I couldn't tell whether it was scared or hungry. What do you think?

Arizona has many different crab spiders.

We have colorful ones that hide in flowers.

We have gentle giants (Olios sp.).

This week we have a new (to us) crab spider.

It was small spot, a body and legs sunning on a car cover. At first glance, I thought it might be a tick.

A closer look shows it is a spider because it has two distinct body regions. Ticks are basically one oval body.

The forward-directed front legs indicate it is a crab spider.

In fact, it appears to be a ground crab spider, Xysticus sp. (Experts, please correct me).

It's always fun to find something new.

Want to learn a few basics about how to identify spiders? See our previous post.

Or pick up a book from our growing list of children's books about spiders at Science Books for Kids.

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During a recent trip, my nephew pointed out a classic funnel web a spider had built in a bush. Funnel webs consist of flat sheets of webbing with a round tunnel that serves as a retreat.

A few hours later, he pointed out the spider.

 

Funnel web spiders look a lot like wolf spiders, but they have a different eye pattern (see BugGuide)

You can see a better photo of the web structure at Wikimedia.

If you are interested in spiders, I've read some great books lately. I found two new fiction children's picture books feature spiders as characters (reviewed at Wrapped in Foil) and also an adult nonfiction book, Amazing Arachnids by Jillian Cowles (reviewed at Wild About Ants.)

Have you seen any cool spiders lately?