Saturday, February 11, 2012

Adventures in Spider Misidentification: Tegeneria not

Mystery Basement Spider
Although we have a caveat in the sidebar (HBG Names & Claims) about the ids on this blog and our openness to suggested corrections, we've had few alternative hypotheses offered. Ted MacRae and Matthias Buck helped on occasion, but I can't think of any others offhand. Such an absence of feedback can lead to a sense of complacency and a mistaken feeling that one knows what one is doing.
Tegenaria not!
Last December I had a post on what was afoot in the basement wherein I featured a picture of what I thought was an immature Barn/Sink/Basement Funnel Weaver Spider Tegenaria domestica. I arrived at this conclusion because I knew we've had the spider in its funnel webs in the basement for years and after consulting the information on BugGuide, I decided it was close enough and what else could it be anyway? But fortunately, last week John Sloan discovered the HBG and was good enough to tell me that I was probably wrong.
Not an upside-down Funnel Weaver
To John, the legs didn't look right but were reminiscent (e.g. here) of a family of spiders not known to be in Alberta: the Pimoidae. This spider family is on the West Coast and our guest room in the basement has hosted many visits by West Coast relatives and scientists - so colonization by suitcase is well within the realm of possibilities. I think the match looks good, both the habitus of the spider and the upside-down habit in the web, but as John pointed out Pimoidae is close to the Linyphiidae - a family of mostly tiny spiders that is very diverse in Alberta.
Pimoa or Linyphiidae: Lepthyphantes cf nebulosus
Our Mystery Basement Spiders are only about 4-5 mm long (chelicerae to spinnerets) at the moment and probably just juveniles. We'll be hoping that some make it to adults so that we can send them to John for a more authoritative identification. But wait - there is more! John has offered several other corrections to past posts and I have updated those posts and will be sharing more Adventures in Spider Misidentification with you in the future. Everyone is invited to join in and help (mis)identify a spider.

UPDATE: Thanks to Alberta Bugs, Robin Leech, and ultimately and authoritatively, Don Buckle - we have a winner: definitely Linyphiidae and most likely Megalepthyphantes (Lepthyphantes) nebulosus - a spider that likes people (synanthrope).

1 comment:

  1. This is Letícia, from SciELO Brazil ( and we need to get in touch with you. Please, contact us at the e-mail or/ and
    We're doing a survey of blogs on biodiversity for a possible inclusion in a source of data in this field and your blog interested us.
    To make the correct registry of your blog we need to know your real name, cause this information isn't avaiable in this blog as well as your e-mail address (and this is why I'm leaving this commentary).
    Waiting for your contact and appreciating you colaboration,
    Letícia Martins
    SciELO Brazil