Sunday, November 4, 2012

Adventures in spider Misidentification: Wine, weevils, and cobwebs

Intrepid Cobweb Spider makes meal of weevil
October was a dreary month in the Home Bug Garden: frosts and clouds and snow and sleet and rain. Freezing rain does make snow seem more benign, but not any easier to shovel. Not a good time for bugs, but frosty evenings are an appropriate cue for an enophile to switch from summer whites to winter reds. A glass or two of Australian shiraz or New Zealand pinot noirs are pretty fair lubricants for the task of sorting through last summer's pictures and seeing what new records may be lurking among the folders. Unfortunately, although supposedly in vino veritas, I'm not finding many Latin binomials jumping out at me yet.
Theridiidae vs Curculionidae - not the most inspired of identifications
I'm guessing that this small spider is a female Theridiidae, a Cobweb Spider, because legs I are very long and legs III rather short. The other likely alternative, Linyphiidae, should have thinner legs of more uniform length and lots of macro-setae, or at least that is my impression. The beetle is clearly a weevil, Curculionidae, and perhaps a member of the subfamily Entiminae, Broad-nosed Weevils, but other weevils also have short, broad snouts. Well, one good thing about wine. The more one drinks, the less important knowing a name becomes and the easier it becomes to simply enjoy the evening and remember sunnier times. 

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