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Misumena, Misumenoides, and Mecaphesa

Lynette's recent question sent us back to the books and the images stored in BugGuide. Here is our admittedly amateur answer to the question of identity of these three. Please advise where this should be posted once people have had a chance to add comments and after we fix this draft.

Misumena:
All four anterior (front) eyes are about the same size. When viewed from the front, and a little above, it seems all eight eyes are visible and form a crescent shape. The lateral eyes are on tubercles, but the posterior laterals are visible. See



Misumenoides:
All four anterior (front) eyes are about the same size. When viewed from the front, and a little above, only six eyes are visible. The posterior laterals are facing sideways and are on the ends of a long horizontal transverse ridge across the face. See



Mecaphesa:
The anterior lateral eyes are a little larger than the anterior median eyes. When viewed from the front, and a little above, only six eyes are visible. The posterior laterals are facing sideways and backwards on tubercles that include the anterior laterals. Mecaphesa is also often (always?) hairy. See



Comments, corrections, and suggestions most welcome.
john and jane

Misumessus
So what about Misumessus?

 
Misumessus
Great eye shots added by Joe here.

 
more eye shots
I am late to the party on this, but captured a Misumenoides formosipes the other day and took some decent shots of the eyes:



I have added one of the thumbnails to several of the relevant guide pages.

 
Just found this
Thanks so much for the work put into this!

 
We and Lynette just learned that one
this summer. It was split out of Misumenops. We're not sure of the eye details that might make it different from Misumenops. Not even sure that some of the images we called Misumenops aren't actually Misumessus! It will have to wait till we learn more. Oh! for an expert in Misumenops!!

This is a great reference
I had missed the link to it on the family page before, but found it after John and Jane identified a Misumenops of mine just now. It seems to me that this should all appear on the Thomisidae page, rather than being hidden on the Misumena vatia page. I was tempted to just copy and paste it right now, but figured I'd better comment here instead, in case there was a reason for its placement that hadn't occurred to me.

Edit: I see now that this is also on the Misumena genus page, but the link below took me to the Misumena vatia page. I think the most logical approach would be to have the comparison occur at the family level, and then just show the genus in question on the page for each genus, stressing the defining characters, and referring users to the similar genera and/or back to the family page in the "see also" section. I think the genus page is also the best place to offer tips on distinguishing among members of that genus, as I have attempted to do here. The M. vatia page ought to highlight what is distinctive about that species, and it seems odd to have the comparison of the genera repeated there.

I'm just trying to articulate the organization scheme that most helps me personally when trying to sort out an ID--if anyone feels differently, please chime in!

 
Crab spider
Hi! I was wondering if this spider poses a danger to humans or cats or dogs? There was one on our deck step and it was quite pretty. Of course the neighbor killed before I can say stop. But, is it toxic at all? Thanks for any information. I did see THE book on insects everyone has been ordering and plan on ordering one myself. But I need to know soon if this poses a harm, if not I will have everyone refrain from killing it. Thanks again!

 
99% of the time the answer to your
question about any spider is No! The only spiders that you are wise to avoid are the Widows and the Recluse. You can find images of those two here in the guide. Any other spider, the answer is no. Is this one dangerous? No. Is that one dangerous? No. How about the one over there? No. You have two to watch for - Widow and Recluse. Please spread the word to your friends and neighbors.

 
One advantage to having it at the species level
users unfamiliar with the taxonomy are more likely to find themselves at that info page than at higher levels, if they come to the guide via an image or an identifying comment. I don't see any harm in showing the same information at many levels of the guide.

 
My two cents
Just stumbled across this thread belatedly while looking for crab spider info.

Generally, when information that logically belongs at a particular level is copied onto multiple levels, it can cause confusion. The example I notice most is when species pages have the "numbers" field filled out, e.g., "three species in this genus," which always makes me think I've somehow ended up on a genus page.

 
Yes
This continues to be an issue, and I recently made a post about it here. To Hannah's comment above, I would respond that editors should remember to make use of the "see also" section of guide pages.

Moved to guide page
We moved this to the Identification box on the Misumena guide page here, and linked to it from Misumenoides and Misumenops. Please continue to make comments and corrections here and we will make those changes there. Now that we have done this we have questions on Richard's and Tony's . They seem more like Misumenoides to us. What do others think?

This is great.
As you may have noticed, I've been floundering about with only a very vague notion of the differences based on a single comment in Florida's Fabulous Spiders!
Either a link to this, or the whole thing, should be posted in the identification section of each of the relevant guide pages, I think.

 
I agree.
Yesterday I linked some good forum discussions to the Peucetia guide page.
Any relevant discussions in the forum pages should be utilized.

very nice
The one line about there being six eyes visible vs. eight is a great help to me. Thanks for this!

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