This isn't a mouse spider, is it?
May 7, 2009 9:50 AM   Subscribe

This spider is probably not what I've convinced myself it is, right? Right?

This morning, a few hours after waking up, I discovered and captured this giant black spider on my bed. I like spiders, so although I was mightily creeped out, I did my quick "not a widow or a recluse" check, decided it was probably harmless, and released it in the back yard.

I still wasn't sure what exactly it was, so I showed the photos to some friends, who said that it was most likely some kind of Mygalomorph, which includes things like tarantulas. A bit more poking around has me convinced now that it's one of these mouse spiders. This seems very unlikely to me, as they are usually found only in Australia and South America, but they have been spotted up here in Texas.

So, can anyone confirm the identity of this critter one way or another? I'm fine letting a tarantula roam around, but the stuff I'm reading about mouse spiders (aggressive, very toxic to humans) has me wondering if I let the little guy go a bit prematurely. Thoughts?
posted by majcher to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If no one else has any ideas, you could ask D. Allen Dean, who has and page with the Spiders of Texas, which contains 18 types of Theraphosidae Thorell (Tarantulas). Good luck!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:04 AM on May 7, 2009

Best answer: Only popping in to provide this spider identification chart . From that chart it looks like either a mouse or trapdoor (IANAA)
posted by forforf at 10:07 AM on May 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's a blurry picture on Whatsthatbug resembling your pics, which they tentatively ID'ed as a Crevice Weaver. Some of the google image results look similar.
posted by twoporedomain at 10:08 AM on May 7, 2009

If my wife found this on our bed, we'd be moving to a new house.

The pictures do look pretty close... it's hard to tell but a mouse spider appears as if it should have a "glossy carapice", that is the parts of the body that aren't the rear-most (spinneret) section should be shiny. Looks like it could be a "trap door spider" which has a pretty similar appearance.

If it's a mouse spider, it's a female, because the males have red heads. One source says this:

"The females tend to remain in or near their burrows throughout their life, and are sluggish spiders that are rarely aggressive"

Also if it helps most sites seem to say something like this:

"Mouse Spider venom may be very toxic, but only one serious envenomation has been recorded. Other bites have occurred causing minor effects. Funnel-web spider antivenom has proved effective in the one confirmed case."
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:08 AM on May 7, 2009

P.S. I'm in austin too and I've found some *enormous* spiders caught in mouse glue traps.
This one is about the biggest I've got a picture of (didn't catch this one, just saw it)
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:12 AM on May 7, 2009

forforf - that link only shows dangerous spiders, and doesn't really help. Like mushrooms and snakes, for every awful, dangerous variety, there is a relatively harmless one.

She looks like a pretty standard tarantula to me, but I'm no spider expert.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2009

Envenomation. Come on, come on, fucking spider bite. Envenomation my tailpipe.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:05 AM on May 7, 2009

Response by poster: I asked some local arachnophiles here, and along with the online identification thingies, we're pretty convinced it is indeed a mouse spider. Fortunately, according to my sources, the mouse spiders found in Texas are much less aggressive and venomous than the ones in Australia, so there shouldn't be much to worry about. Still, wish I had kept it where I could see it.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by majcher at 11:47 AM on May 7, 2009

Best answer: I reckon it's a false tarantula: Calisoga longitarsus. See also.
posted by dhruva at 11:48 AM on May 7, 2009

If my wife found this on our bed, we'd be moving to a new house.

If my wife or I found this on our bed, we'd be moving to a new planet. Or a new dimension, preferably.
posted by Cobalt at 3:08 PM on May 7, 2009

I saw that picture, and thanked god I didn't live in the same city as majcher. But, hey, where does majcher live? It ends up that he lives in the same city as me. So thanks, majcher. I hate you now.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:59 PM on May 7, 2009 [6 favorites]

I went to boarding school in west Austin, and the guys would find tarantula-like animals all over the place and keep them and play with them to freak us all out. They looked pretty much exactly like that, so I would say at the very least, I don't think it's going to eat your face.
posted by mckenney at 4:06 PM on May 7, 2009

Looks like a tarantula to me as well.

Caveat: That is the only Big Spider with which I am intimately acquainted.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:46 PM on May 7, 2009

Never have I been more happy that we don't have the img tag any more.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:48 AM on May 8, 2009

forforf: Dear God, the huntsman spider on that page twitches every so often.

That's a particularly evil trick, right there.
posted by ZakDaddy at 2:26 PM on May 8, 2009

« Older Gift for a retiring computer science professor   |   Schools of Meditation Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.