SPIDERS AT BRAZOS BEND STATE PARK (AND ELSEWHERE)
This page was born 8/12/2002.  Rickubis designed it.  (such as it is.) Last update: 10/20/2010
Images and contents on this page copyright 2002, 2015 Richard M. Dashnau

Here are some of my other Brazos Bend pages:
  Spiders page 2 (Nephila clavipes)
  Spiders page 3
  Spiders page 4 (Jumping Spiders)
  Spiders page 5 (Orb Weavers)
  Spiders Page 6(fishing spiders)
  Spiders Page 7(spitting spiders)

Alligators at Brazos Bend State Park Introduction              Critters at Brazos Bend State Park Page 1
Snakes-nonvenomous 1-------------------------------------------  Critters at Brazos Bend State Park Page 3
Snakes-nonvenomous 2-------------------------------------------------Insects, non-toxic
Snakes-nonvenomous 3------------------------------------------------Spiders
Snakes-venomous------------------------------------------------------Mammals
Birds-Waders----Birds-Raptors--------------------------------- Lizards!--Turtles!

This started as a place to collect spider pictures as I moved them from the RICKUBISCAM. As I got more pictures of spiders, I started putting them here. Over time, I got enough of them to be able to split off separate pages. The links to the other pages are above. To get the most information, it might be best to browse them in order. I recommend a book I've bought to anyone who is interested in spiders (maybe I'd recommmend it to people who aren't interested in spiders. The title is: Biology of Spiders, by Rainer F. Foelix, published in 1996. This has a lot of information on spider biology. It is not an identification guide, but is filled with detail on how spiders do what they do(Since they're "spiders" do they "spide"? Is what spiders do called "spiding"? Probably not. It's just another mystery of the English language.). In fact, if you read the book, I'd be surprised if you didn't develop an interest in spiders.

August 22 and 29, 2010  While I was looking through the gardens at the Nature Center (looking for Praying Mantids), I discovered a pair of large Green Lynx Spiders (Peucetia Viridans). I took some pictures of them and then continued my mantis search. Male spiders often have the ends of the pedipalps (the "short" pair legs in front of the jaws) enlarged, so I think one was female and one was male. The top set of pictures is from August 22nd.

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       MALE AND FEMALE ON OPPOSITE LEAVES                    FEMALE WITH QUARTER                                              MALE WITH QUARTER

The next week, I found them again.The pictures below are from August 29th. Then, someone else told me where another one in the next garden had caught a bee. So, more pictures. As I mention on in an older post on this page these spiders have been observed "spraying their venom from their fangs" when the spider is stressed--such as by pulling a leg with tweezers. The Green Lynx will turn towards the annoyance and spray. I'm curious about how this "spray" works. Does it increase fluid pressure until the venom is forced out from the fang openings? What?? I'll repeat the link I put on the other page here--to one report. Click here for the pdf.   I've also found another reference (with a few picture showing spray patterns on glass) on page 27 in this book:  Secret Weapons--Defenses of Insects, Spiders, Scorpions, and Other Many Legged Creatures by Eisner, Eisner, and Siegler (C)2005  I'll see if I can investigate this further by watching the spiders.  As I posted somewhere else recently--if some giant pulled one of my legs, then I'd spray, too....just not from my fangs.

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            GREEN LYNX WITH CAPTURED BEE            GREEN LYNX WITH CAPTURED BEE CLOSER       GREEN LYNX PEEKING UNDER A LEAF

October  06, 2002 The image below left (NOT A GOOD DAY. below) is just our tarantula in the Nature Center enjoying a meal. I guess there are a few lessons here:  ONE, that no matter how bad your day is, it would be far worse if you were being eaten by a spider and TWO, that a meal can be a cause of great satisfaction *and* great dissatisfaction, depending on which side of the jaws you're on.

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                   NOT A GOOD DAY?

September 08, 2002 The picture below(GREEN LYNX) shows a "Green Lynx Spider" (Peucetia viridens), with a quarter. For those who haven't figured it out, the various coinage that appears in my nature pictures is for scale, and NOT because I have to pay any of these animals to pose, and not because they need the money.
The Green Lynx Spider doesn't make a web to live in (like the various orb weavers do), but instead it likes to skulk about in vegetation, pouncing out on any prey that might happen by.  As I was searching the internet for information on this spider, I discovered an interesting fact. These spiders spit poison! (Oh, no...not another venom-spitting arthropod!) Click here to see a .pdf file that gives this information. The spitting in this species appears to be a defensive behavior. There is another spider that spits a mixture of poison and sticky glue to catch prey (family Scytodidae,genus Scytodes), by actually squeezing its prosoma (cephalothorax) using internal muscle contraction and squirting out this mixture in a zigzag pattern that sticks its prey to the ground and paralyzes it.  However, the Green Lynx spider apparently only spits venom when attacked.  (Note--In studies that I've found since I wrote this, and direct communication with Dr. R.B. Suter; there is increasing evidence that there is no toxic component in the "spit" of scytodes. It has been shown that the spit can actually contract so that besides gluing down the target organism there is also a tightening effect. This could cause the limbs of the prey to contract and give the illusion that the prey was "curling up" and dying. Look for these studies online: Spitting performance parameters and their biomechanical implications in the spitting spider, Scytodes thoracica. Suter RB, Stratton GE and  Clements R, Li D. 2005. Regulation and non-toxicity of the spit from the pale spitting spider Scytodes pallida   R. Dashnau 09/02/2010 Try this link for the first study.

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                          GREEN LYNX                                                   THE USUAL LEVEL                                            MORNING  AFTER FAY
Some of you may be aware that tropical storm Fay briefly threatened my home. While there was some flooding of nearby areas, it was not as bad as the damage that Allison wrought last year.  A friend of mine happened to live in Galveston, though, and she got to watch as the water steadily got higher Friday night. I went out  there Saturday, and the water was still a bit higher than usual. The two pictures above show the change.  THE USUAL LEVEL was taken last November. The MORNING AFTER FAY was taken at about 10:30 am Saturday, Sept. 7th. The rest of the day was excellent.

September 4, 2002  Last Monday, Labor Day, I was at the park, doing park things, when John drove up in one of the gators. He told me about a large spider that he saw inside one of the water stations on the Spillway trail. Not long after that, Herb mentioned the same spider.

So, I stopped by this water station, and looked inside.  I did't see any spider, and started to stick my head in, but then decided I might not like a large,  annoyed spider of indeterminate species jumping down onto the back of my neck. So, I carefully looked again, and then I found it.  With a little maneuvering I was able to get some pictures. One is below.

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I suspected that this was another spider of the Dolomedes genus. So, I decided to ask the "high priestess of Dolomedes", Ms. Kelly Kissane.

Here is part of my email to her:
          ....Here's my story. Yesterday, two people told me about this "big spider" that was hiding in our little water  station.
          They knew I like to take pictures of them. So, I looked, and found it hiding up against the ceiling. The picture with it
          against the end of the board shows where I found it. That wood is about 1-3/8 inches to a side.  I blew on the spider,
           and it moved  onto the wall, allowing me to get the other shot. I'm reluctant to bother the animals too much, so that's
           all I did. I was lucky to get the shots I did, considering I had to reach inside the box while
           holding the camera.
           Am I right in guessing that this is a Dolomedes Tenebrosus? The body shape and the "frowning face" eye
           arrangement seems similar to our other friend's (D. Albineus). Also, that pattern on the rear segment
           (abdomen/opisthosoma) seems like what I can see in the guidebook. Since I think it's a Dolomedes, I figured
           you'd be the person to ask....

And here is her answer:

           Rick,

           That's definitely Dolomedes tenebrosus - a large female.  The males are less than 1/2 that size
           (sometimes they're 1/4 the size of the female)....

            Kelly

So, there's the story. I've been fortunate (some may not agree) to be able to see two different spiders in the genus Dolomedes.

August 18, 2002  I went to check on my Alligator Gar's head. This is the same large gar that I've mentioned before. I'm trying once again to clear the remaining decaying matter off of it. This time, I'm using a steel mesh cage that I made, and I placed this on an ant's nest.  I'd picked up the head, and inspected it, and when I set it back down, I saw a large spider on top of the skull. At this point, I think it's some type of wolf spider, but I'll see if I can identify it. Both pictures show the spider standing on the gar's skull. (see Wolf1 and Wolf2, below. Wolf2 is pictured with a quarter.)

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                                   WOLF 1                                                                                  WOLF 2
According to my Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders, this is a wolf spider. Specifically, it's known as a Rabid Wolf Spider (isn't that a nice name?), Lycosa Rabida. When I searched the internet, I found that this species has been renamed Rabidosa Rabida. At this point, I don't know much about spider classification, and for now I'm putting the Latin names for animals on my pages for both readers' and my education. It will be a long time before I can remember all these names. The key identification point seems to be the two lengthwise dark stripes on the front section (cephalothorax, sometimes called the "prosoma" on spiders), and the dark stripe between two pale stripes on the abdomen (also called the "opisthosoma" on spiders).  The two main body parts are joined by a thin joint called the "pedicel" (Source for body part names: Biology of Spiders-2nd edition, by Rainer F. Foelix.)  Click the image below to see these parts labeled on a real spider.
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July 21-20, 2002  I guess we're moving into our summer weather, although it hasn't broken 100 degrees F yet. The number of visitors to the park has lessened somewhat. Today, July 21(Sunday), I took a few more pictures of some of our Golden Silk Spiders. This picture shows a pretty big one (see HOW BIG?, above).  I took two more pictures of this one, with different objects to give a better idea of the size. (See CATCH MY NAME, and WITH A QUARTER above). These spiders are usually harmless to humans, but it still gave me some heebie-jeebies to look through the camera zoomed in as I moved my hand closer to the spider. I'll mention here that Ms. Kissane, in our early communication, pointed out the there is a very poisonous, and aggressive spider from South America also known as "Banana Spider", because it has turned up in shipments of bananas here in the U.S. Please don't start killing the spiders I've shown here under the impression that these "Banana Spiders" are the same. They aren't.

If you'd like to know more about the park follow these links:

Brazos Bend State Park   The main page.

Brazos Bend State Park Volunteer's Page  The volunteer's main page.

Click on this image   to see a flv video movie (942kb) of a series of 9  11 x 14 posters I'm working on.

If you'd like to know more about spiders (besides what I have on my pages), then go visit the:
                     THE ARACHNOLOGY HOME PAGE
             The Arachnological Hub of the World Wide Web
       There, you will find about 2000 more links to information on spiders on the internet.
       The webmaster there was kind enough to place a link to this page there. The link to me is on this page.

           Go back to my home page, Welcome to rickubis.com
           Go back to the RICKUBISCAM page.
           Go back to the See the World page.