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What is this spider on the ceiling?

The Question: I saw this spider(?) walking on the ceiling of my kitchen. It was too small to see distinctly, but I grabbed my camera and got a good shot with my telephoto lens. It’s a fearsome looking little thing! Anyway, I live in Georgia and there are lots of spiders around the house and in the house these days. This little bug was about 1/4″ long from head to tip of tail. Is it dangerous?

Submitted by: Manuel, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The Short Answer: Manuel, you have nothing to fear from this little guy. It’s a jumping spider, from the genus Metacyrba. G. B. Edwards, spider curator at the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, and an expert on this particular genus of spiders, believes that your photo is of a juvenile Metacyrba taeniola.  It isn’t at all dangerous, so you’re safe.

These spiders don’t have common names, other than “jumping spider” (but there are thousands of species that are called “jumping spider”). You can find a close-up picture at http://bugguide.net/node/view/246094.

Sources:

Dr. Edwards’ paper on the identification of Metacyrba spiders can be found here: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1071&context=insectamundi. It’s a fairly technical paper, but if you’re knowledgeable about spider anatomy and identification, it details the latest word on separating the species of Metacyrba.

My special thanks to Catnip and Eric at www.spideridentification.org, who very quickly responded to my request for assistance. Catnip speculated that the spider might be a Metacyrba, and was right on the money.

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3 Responses

  1. Tom of AskaNaturalist.com Says:

    Manuel, I try to take the same live and let live approach to spiders. They are fascinating creatures for sure. Of course, not everyone has the same attitude towards our eight-legged friends, so sometimes, I have to remove one from the house and carefully let it go outside. 🙂

  2. Manuel Says:

    Thank you very much for the information. I know that we are only supposed to have a couple of dangerous spiders in our part of the country (Georgia), but I’m not too sure about identifying them. My house is a veritable refuge for spiders, they are in all sorts of places. I generally leave them alone to catch and eat other insects, but I am always curious to know more about them.

    Thanks again!

  3. Rick Says:

    I’ve always wondered, why do spiders seem to spend so much time on the ceiling? It seems like its pretty much a desert food-wise…

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