21 de abril de 2023

Mecaphesa asperata (Northern Crab Spider) – quick notes on geographic range and identification

For reasons unknown to me, the crab spider species Mecaphesa asperata (formerly known as Misumenops asperatus, common name Northern Crab Spider) has become the AI/automated suggestion of choice for crab spider images in the western US, the area where I normally review spider observations. Although this species is known to be widespread in North America, to my knowledge it has not been accurately documented from California and it's unclear to me if it is known from Arizona, Oregon or Washington state. In addition, with only one exception I am aware of, crab spiders in the genus Mecaphesa are difficult or impossible to ID to species without examining the genitalia of an adult spider, usually a collected specimen.

This is all to say that I encourage everyone NOT to accept the automated suggestion of M. asperata for crab spiders photographed in California and neighboring states and, if folks feel comfortable, to disagree with IDs of this spider in that area. I've included more information below.

From Dondale and Redner 1978 - Crab Spiders of Canada and Alaska:
Range: “New Mexico to Florida, northward to British Columbia, Quebec, and Massachusetts".
ID: Discuss genitalia, no comments on coloration being diagnostic. Collected from foliage and blossoms.

From Gertsch 1939:
Range: “United States and Canada. The species become increasingly rarer toward the south and- at the present time there seem to be no authentic records from Mexico or the West Indies”. Gertsch 1939 does indicate a single record of a male collected from Claremont, California – BUT see below.

From Schick 1965:
“Asperatus group: At least three species of this group occur in the United States, M. asperatus (Hentz), M. verityi, new species, and M. devius Gertsch, the last two from California. Asperatus is cited from California from a single record in the 1939 revision of Gertsch (Claremont, Los Angeles County), but this is a doubtful record". (note: Schick produced a detailed monograph on the crab spiders of California in 1965 and probably understood the ID and ranges of these spiders in CA better than anyone before or since that time).

M. asperata/asperatus not listed in the Johnson/Lew checklist found here:

M. asperata/asperatus is not listed in Rod Crawford’s 1988 Annotated Checklist of the Spiders of Washington

Publicado el abril 21, 2023 03:11 MAÑANA por kschnei kschnei | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de abril de 2020

Please help look for a new-to-science Southern California jumping spider - Maevia!

The arachnologist and jumping spider specialist GB Edwards is currently working on the salticid genus Maevia and is very eager to find new specimens from Southern California. There are at least one or two undescribed Maevia species in California - one appears to be found exclusively in Southern California and is the one GB is especially interested in finding. Here are some photos and locations of this cool little spider:





The orange markings on the abdomen are actually somewhat unique to this genus in terms of the California fauna and it should be fairly easy to recognize. If you find one, please collect it and keep it alive to send to Dr. Edwards. Feel free to contact me or GB if you have any questions. His direct email address is:


Stay safe (and socially distanced) out there and thanks!!


Publicado el abril 15, 2020 01:12 MAÑANA por kschnei kschnei | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de septiembre de 2018

Enneboeus marmoratus - please help look for this little beetle species in California

Last summer, I photographed an unfamiliar, small, dark beetle at our balcony lights in San Francisco. An expert (Matt Gimmel) eventually identified it as Enneboeus marmoratus, a new species for the US, and published a paper on the find:




I again found quite a few of these beetles at a black light placed on our balcony recently (a year later), so this appears to be a persistent and even abundant introduced species here in Noe Valley. The question is how widespread is this beetle in in the Bay Area or beyond? If you look for insects at lights or put out a black light for moths, etc. - please consider looking for and photographing small (3-4 mm) dark beetles with somewhat vague dark red patches of hairs on the back of the elytra, somewhat resembling a dark lady beetle to my eyes (see links above). Thanks!

@kueda @loarie @gyrrlfalcon @tiwane @finatic @damontighe @silversea_starsong @catchang @moonlittrails @owicki @rjadams55

Publicado el septiembre 27, 2018 05:36 TARDE por kschnei kschnei | 15 comentarios | Deja un comentario