View Full Version : What kind of spider is this?

Jul 3, 2008, 02:55 PM

This is the strangest thing I have ever seen... It is a 4-legged spider (spins webs and everything), so I'm guessing it must be mutated or injured somehow... But I can't tell what species it actually is.

It's fairly aggressive (bit my grilfriend!), about 1/4 inch in length, with a light, honey-colored head, and large, yellowish-white abdomen with a dark spot that seems to be directly on the spinneret. It also has two asymmetrical light brown spots on its belly, but they don't seem to be special markings; maybe just the spider equivalent of freckles or moles.

There are only four legs, and they are also light colored, with slightly darker bands at the joints. It is definitely a web spinner -- it hung from its web each time I tried to knock it off the lid of the container it's in, but I haven't observed it using the web as anything other than a safety line.

So, first question is, should my grilfriend be at the doctor's office right now? And second question is, what the hell is this thing?

Jul 3, 2008, 03:12 PM
Its not a spider they have at least 6 legs
I have seen them before but don't know what they are.

Jul 15, 2008, 09:19 PM
Actually, all spiders have eight legs (they're not insects). If it is a spider, some legs may be in disguise (there's a spider that looks just like an ant at first, 'hiding' 2 legs). But mutation is about all I could come up with for only looking like it has 4. (You photo was enlarged a bit too much and hides detail.)
Try these links: Cornell Entomology at Ithaca - Spider Outreach (http://www.entomology.cornell.edu/public/IthacaCampus/ExtOutreach/SpiderOutreach.html)

University of Kentucky Entomology: ENTfacts (http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/dept/entfacts.asp)


Jul 29, 2008, 12:43 AM
Yeah, it's got to be a spider. Can't say why you saw only 4 legs. But I recognize it as a spider from the typical cephalothorax and abdomen shape.

Jul 29, 2008, 12:57 AM
Regarding the hospital question... By this time, you no doubt have figured out whether your girlfriend needs to see a doctor.

All spiders have venom, but not all spiders can bite or want to bite a human. Some spiders are more dangerous than others. The black widow and the brown recluse being two of the more notorious. This does not appear to be either of these species.

Common reactions range range from a large itchy bump (=slightly allergic), that can sometimes get necrotic, to no reaction at all. Except there are some individuals who are seriously allergic (=anaphylactic). Anaphylaxis is serious. You would have discovered if your girlfriend was seriously allergic by now. If you react to a bite or sting systemically, swelling in other body parts, especially of the tongue or face, then it just might be time to see a doctor.

Jun 21, 2009, 10:13 PM
We found a four legged spider too. It looks very similar to the one you posted.

I tried to take the best photos I could, but it was running around, so it very hard. The spider clearly only has 4 legs and no disguised legs. When picking it up it does spin web back down to the floor, so it's definitely a spider.

If you look closely though, it appears that the first four legs are broken off or missing. I suppose either this must be a mutation, or the legs have broken off.

Does anyone know if spiders fight each other and break off each other's front legs?

Jun 22, 2009, 04:34 AM
Both sets of photos apparently show spiders with missing legs. The symmetry is the only strange part. Note in both sets the space on the cephalothorax for two more pairs of legs. The second set clearly shows stumps at those spaces.

What pulled the spiders' legs off is unanswerable, as it could have been predators, accidents, or even mean children with a lot of guts.

Jun 22, 2009, 07:38 PM
After looking into this more, there are some peculiarities;

1) These spiders with 4 legs are they same type of spider with same body type. They also have the same legs completely missing at the same joint - no partially damaged or missing legs.

2) The spider we found was not pulled apart by kids.

3) There does not seem to be any other insect or spider that would not only be strong enough to pull 4 front legs off, but also do so without killing the spider.

At this point, I'm starting to think it may be a genetic defect in these types of spiders that either causes these 4 front legs to not grow, or results in them falling off.

Jun 23, 2009, 02:37 AM
At this point, I'm starting to think it may be a genetic defect in these types of spiders that either causes these 4 front legs to not grow, or results in them falling off.

You don't live near Chernobyl, do you? (Sorry, got to stay certified as a smart-aleck)

Birth defects is a possibility, particularly since your photo shows definite stubs.