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Thread: California Spider Identification

  1. #1

    California Spider Identification

    We have been seeing new kinds of spiders in Whittier, CA this past week of May 22. We do a lot of gardening.

    I have never seen this spider before.. it is easy to spot a few in an average backyard. I can identify it by the cone shaped home it has built for itself out of what looks to me like pieces of insects and dirt or plant debris. The spiders are always inside these cone shaped shelters in one of the webs. We see this during daylight. There are always two webs. One web is a nice looking spiral pattern, and the other is three dimensional and out of control looking-web strings everywhere with no pattern. Two completely different webs for every spider. The cone shaped shelter the spider is in is always suspended in the non-pattern web. The webs are touching.
    The spiders always have large, fat, round bodies with the same white pattern resembling a pine tree. They have short striped legs.

    What kind of spider has this white tree pattern and hides in a cone shelter (probably built it), and has two completely different web patterns? Does it take over some other spiders web?

    Last summer of 2011 we started noticing a very large amount of what we believe to be brown widows. We haven't seen any brown widows in the areas where these new spiders are.

    Thank You!
    Steph
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  2. #2
    They do look to be the same kind of spider! It is so interesting....Ive lived here for ever and had never seen this kind of spider before. I hope we find out what they are!

  3. #3
    Moderator Ungoliant's Avatar
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    I looked into this a bit more, and there is a genus of orb weaver that builds an irregular, tangled "barrier web" above and to the side of its orb web. That genus is Metepeira, and they use the messy area as a retreat. (Some people have also found spiderlings in these retreats.)

    There are several species of Metepeira orb weavers in California.

    Quote Originally Posted by biggerwidget View Post
    Last summer of 2011 we started noticing a very large amount of what we believe to be brown widows. We haven't seen any brown widows in the areas where these new spiders are.
    If you think you see a brown widow (Latrodectus geometricus), please start a separate thread (with pictures of the suspect). One of us can either confirm that it is a brown widow or allay your concerns. (There are several spiders that are commonly mistaken for widows.) For potential widow spiders, please take a picture of both the back side and the underside if possible. (All mature American widow spiders should have some kind of triangular/hourglass markings on the underside of their abdomens.)
    Helpful Links: ID Guide ID Resources Species Guides FAQ Spider Bites Glossary

    "There is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance." --Neil deGrasse Tyson

  4. #4
    Community Guide Eric's Avatar
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    Nice work, Ungoliant! I agree with Metepeira for an identification.

    Eric

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