HUGE Irridescent Black Spider - Kukulcania hibernalis
Hartsville, Lee County, South Carolina, USA
April 22, 2006
Size: 3 1/2 Inches diameter
This is one of a pair of spiders that I discovered co-habitating in a space between two boards underneath the porch of a small building on our property, that used to be a child's playhouse(now used for storage). The smaller of the two, about an inch in diameter, is brownish in color, and looks very much like a larger version of the tiny Gnaphosid spiders I often find indoors, including the satiny, mink-like fine hair covering its body. I could see a set of long black legs sticking out of that space from which the brown spider had emerged, so I used a twig to gently probe in behind it to get a better look. I was NOT prepared for the creature that emerged! I've seen some big Lycosids, and some big Tegenarias, but this thing put them all to shame! The only native South Carolina spider I've seen which comes close to matching this in diameter is a big female Nephila clavipes(Golden Silk Spider). She(both spiders appear to be females-no obviously enlarged pedipalps on either the black one or the brown one)was easily 3 1/2 inches in diameter, as wide as, if not as bulky, as the mature female Costa Rican Tiger-Rump tarantula(Davus fasciatum)I have. Disposition-wise, she was extremely calm and docile, with no sign of aggression or even agitation, in spite of having been rudely pushed from her home by me poking her rear end with a twig. Her movements, while not showing any sign of poor condition, were slow and deliberate like that of many tarantulas. I knew that she was not of one of our more seriously-venomous species, so I was able to persuade her to step onto my hand while I transfered her to the wooden porch railing for a better picture, but I was still shaking too much to steady the camera and take a picture of her on the back of my hand! Like the brown spider, and like the tiny Gnaphosids I'm familiar with, she has that same satiny, mink-like covering, only it was irridescent black. Although they do not show in this picture, she also has the long, tube-like spinnerettes, much like a tarantula, and given her size, I can see how someone who did not know the differences between Mygalamorphs and "true" spiders would think that this WAS a tarantula of some sort. Any idea what these satiny beauties might be?
Sharon McKenzie, aka "pitbulllady"
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