Spider Saturday: Wall Spider

My apartment usually gets a few uninvited guests dropping in this time of year.  I find them in unexpected places as well: the kitchen counter ar the bathroom floor.  They don’t seem to cause any harm and I suspect that they’re eating other uninvited guests, so I hesitate before reaching for the paper towel.  They are called wall spiders (Genus Oecobius) and are common sight throughout the US. The genus name is pronounced “ek-O-bee-uhs” and is Greek for “living in the house” (oikos (οικος)- “house” + bios (βιος)- “living”). That supposed speck of dirt on the wall where it meets the ceiling? It might actually be your friendly neighborhood spider in its small tangled web. Females measure just 3mm while males are even smaller at about 2mm.

I’m quite proud to be able to add this spider to my photographic collection. It is the smallest arachnid I’ve captured to date and it wasn’t an easy task. Wall spiders seem to have only two speeds: “stop” and “run like hell.” I captured this specimen while it was running like hell over my kitchen counter. I kept it in a small vial for a day, hoping it would settle down enough to cooperate with me. I released it onto a leaf and it gave me just a few minutes to snap of a dozen photos before trying to escape. The last shot I got provides a good idea of how small wall spiders are: it was photographed on my arm, where at its size, my arm hairs look like tree trunks.

Thanks to BugGuide.Net for their information.

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