Can you identify this spider from Massachusetts?
May 14, 2013 12:40 PM   Subscribe

I found this huge spider in my Massachusetts kitchen today. What kind of spider is it?

It's got to be the biggest spider I've ever seen, at least 2.5 inches in wingspan, and it has a brown body and tan bands on its legs. I discovered it when I heard a hissing noise coming from its direction - Did it seriously audibly hiss at me, or is this a coincidence?

My roommate fearlessly caught it and released it in the woods behind our house, where I secretly hope it will become a bird snack.
posted by lizzicide to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: It looks like a wolf spider to me.
posted by procrastination at 12:45 PM on May 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Best answer: It looks like a type of garden spider. They are not hazardous, just big. I'm in Maine and we had a lot of those (yes, they are gigantic!) last year. There are a variety of sets of markings. If you're interested send me a message; I have a lot of photos on my instragram account.
posted by miss tea at 12:46 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Yeah, I grew up (in Massachusetts) calling those wolf spiders. They get big but pretty much mind their own business.
posted by usonian at 12:48 PM on May 14, 2013


Best answer: Looks like a wolf or a funnel web grass spider to me.

This document will show you how to determine the difference between a grass spider or a wolf spider (or a hobo, but the banding on the legs nixes that, thank goodness!) by the positioning of the eyes.

Pretty!
posted by blurker at 12:51 PM on May 14, 2013


Best answer: Yeah, looks like a wolf spider. You'll see them in gardens and such a lot. They're harmless to humans.

Did it seriously audibly hiss at me, or is this a coincidence?

Spiders don't vocalize. Some of them may make a noise that sounds like hissing but they make this noise by rubbing body parts together. Some wolf spiders will do this, but yours isn't likely to be one. The hissing sound is most commonly heard in tarantulas. Some of them purr.

So no, probably a coincidence.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:00 PM on May 14, 2013


Best answer: It's a barn funnel weaver.
posted by sanka at 2:08 PM on May 14, 2013


Best answer: Well, if it's a wolf spider, they're "harmless" in the sense that they aren't likely to kill you, but they do bite, and their bites swell up very large and itch like crazy. This I learned the hard way.
posted by Miko at 2:08 PM on May 14, 2013


I think sanka has it.
posted by procrastination at 4:17 PM on May 14, 2013


A wolf spider would only bite under the most extreme circumstances. What were you doing to the poor thing to get it to bite you?

This looks a fishing spider to me
posted by WalkerWestridge at 4:31 PM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


What were you doing to the poor thing to get it to bite you?

I worked for eight summers at a camp in the NJ Pine Barrens. Wolf spiders dropped on us from the rafters, crawled around under our bunks, hung out in the bottoms of our canoes, nestled in our shoes, and took up residence in our cubbies. They were just everywhere. A few people were bitten every summer, not because we did anything to "the poor things," but because we happened to brush up against them, tried to move them out of a place that nobody (including them) wanted them, or in fact in people's sleep. I have run across dozens and dozens of them and the odds were pretty good in all the time we staffers spent there that we'd get bitten at some point.
posted by Miko at 10:06 PM on May 14, 2013


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