And finally, an unidentified seven-legged spider. I don't remember how big he
was, as there is nothing in the picture to judge the scale.
However, the fact
that I had to correct the red-eye on his portrait means that he must have been
Update: A few people wrote in to identify the spider!
I enjoy your site, and wanted to help by identifying your unknown spider. It looks to be a wolf spider, common in households and out in
nature here in Texas. The wolf spiders belong to the Lycosidae, and like wolves are predatory, often stalking their prey before capturing
them, but without the web-building we typically associate with spiders.
Wolf spiders have interesting habits when it comes to raising their young--the female will carry around her large egg sac for a period of
time, and when the young hatch, they move to the mother's back to be carried around until they are able to be independent. For your spider,
it's quite possible that the leg was lost in an encounter with another
spider (spiders are generally solitary, and aggressive defenders of territory) or in wrestling with a prey item.
RE the eyes, I've been out in the field doing research at night, and if you walk along the trail and shine your head lamp down you'll often see
little dots of green eyeshine from where these spiders are sitting on the trail. At times there seem to be hundreds of little green sparkles
of spiders lying in wait for an unsuspecting cricket.
Although none of what I've mentioned might endear the spider to some, the average person should know that this particular species poses no
threat to people, as they are nonvenomous. In fact, they probably do us a favor by ridding our homes of unwanted insect pests.
Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden
Associate Professor and Department Chairman
Biology Department, University of Dallas
Thanks Dr. Marcy!