African Spider identification?

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African Spider identification?

Post by riverma » Fri, 24 Sep 2004 17:00:05



Hi,
I'm in Kinshasa, Congo, and am trying to identify a spider. Maybe someone
here has some resources and can help me out?

Its a large black spider, the body is about 1.5 inches long, with long
spindly legs. In profile, it looks similar to a black widow. On the belly
are some very distinguishing marks: if the spider is*** with the head
upwards, there is a large bright red triangle, then six very bright yellow
dots like the buttons of a double-***ed suit. It makes a large web under
a building eave with a 'cone' at the tip where it hangs out.

Can anyone help me identify this spider?

--riverman

 
 
 

African Spider identification?

Post by riverma » Sat, 25 Sep 2004 00:48:17



Quote:
> Hi,
> I'm in Kinshasa, Congo, and am trying to identify a spider. Maybe someone
> here has some resources and can help me out?

> Its a large black spider, the body is about 1.5 inches long, with long
> spindly legs. In profile, it looks similar to a black widow. On the belly
> are some very distinguishing marks: if the spider is*** with the head
> upwards, there is a large bright red triangle, then six very bright yellow
> dots like the buttons of a double-***ed suit. It makes a large web
> under a building eave with a 'cone' at the tip where it hangs out.

> Can anyone help me identify this spider?

From closer observance, I <think> it is a latrodectus, possibly l. mactans
or l. variolus, but I don't have any reference books for African spiders.
The body is not quite jet-black, more like a very very dark brown/black, the
first tarsus of the leg is much smaller than the upper leg, and has a
reddish hue. Its hiding deep in the conical nest, so I can't see much of it,
but there is a very faint mottled pattern on the back of the abdomen, and
that very pronounced marking on the belly: the half-hourglass (flame red)
and the six yellow spots.

If anyone has a good identification reference that shows pictures of
latrodectus spiders in Congo (or Zaire, if its an old book), could they tell
me what species are found here? Google has squat, as does my 'spiders of
North America' reference book.

--riverman

 
 
 

African Spider identification?

Post by riverma » Sat, 25 Sep 2004 01:43:15


OK, I caught the little ***. Its amazing how observations can be off....

The red triangle is not on the abdomen after all...it is the sternum. The
entire spider is dark black/brown (except for the red 'superman logo-shaped'
sternum), with a slightly elongate abdomen. It is not shiny, but does not
appear to be covered with hair either. It measures 2.25 cm from the fang to
the tip of the tail, and 6.5 cm from the tips of the front and back legs as
it sits.

The markings on the abdomen are yellow. The top (dorsal) side of the abdomen
is black, smooth and with no markings. The lung cover is yellow, and there
are three thin diagonal yellow stripes down the side of the abdomen
terminating in four large yellow spots on the bottom of the abdomen. The
overall shape of the abdomen is a bit more football shaped than the round
body of a Black Widow. All in all, the body looks a lot like a very
oversized wasp, but that might be because of the effect of the yellow
markings. The abdomen is definately more rounded than a wasp abdomen,
however.

The legs are long and thin, with the tarsus being much thinner than the
tibia and upper leg. There is a slight red hue on the tarsus, however it is
mostly black.

The spinnerets are not very pronounced, if they even exist, and the spiricle
is not at the very tip of the abdomen, but is under the ventral tail. I
believe there is only one pair of lungs.

The web it weaves is very orderly, like a garden spider, and it constructs a
tube at one edge of the web (the web is under and eave, the tube is inside
the eave). The tube is very strong, about 10 cm long and 3 cm wide at the
end. The spider is mostly nocturnal, and hangs out in the tube during the
day. The web was about 1 meter across, and very strong.

Except for the color of the markings (yellow, not white), it looks the world
like the sketch of a l. variolus I have here. The locals say it is not
poisonous, but it sure gives me the heebiejeebies.

--riverman
(I feel bad for the little guy in the jar here, I'm going to let him go)

 
 
 

African Spider identification?

Post by Rev Bria » Sun, 26 Sep 2004 03:39:10


Quote:

> Hi,
> I'm in Kinshasa, Congo, and am trying to identify a spider. Maybe
> someone here has some resources and can help me out?

> Its a large black spider, the body is about 1.5 inches long, with long
> spindly legs. In profile, it looks similar to a black widow. On the
> belly are some very distinguishing marks: if the spider is***
> with the head upwards, there is a large bright red triangle, then six
> very bright yellow dots like the buttons of a double-***ed suit.
> It makes a large web under a building eave with a 'cone' at the tip
> where it hangs out.
> Can anyone help me identify this spider?

> --riverman

posting a link to a photo would help alot.
 
 
 

African Spider identification?

Post by riverma » Mon, 27 Sep 2004 20:06:21



Quote:

>> Hi,
>> I'm in Kinshasa, Congo, and am trying to identify a spider. Maybe
>> someone here has some resources and can help me out?

>> Its a large black spider, the body is about 1.5 inches long, with long
>> spindly legs. In profile, it looks similar to a black widow. On the
>> belly are some very distinguishing marks: if the spider is***
>> with the head upwards, there is a large bright red triangle, then six
>> very bright yellow dots like the buttons of a double-***ed suit.
>> It makes a large web under a building eave with a 'cone' at the tip
>> where it hangs out.
>> Can anyone help me identify this spider?

>> --riverman

> posting a link to a photo would help alot.

Reasonable thought, that. If I can find where it made its new web, I'll take
some pics and post them.

--riverman

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