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Misumena - Misumena vatia - female

Misumena - Misumena vatia - Female
Moraga, Contra Costa County, California, USA
December 24, 2009

Images of this individual: tag all
Misumena - Misumena vatia - female Misumenoides - Misumena vatia Misumena - Misumena vatia - female Misumena - Misumena vatia - female

Moved from Misumenoides.

...your spider is a female Misumena vatia. If you're not used to Misumenoides and Misumena then it can be hard to differentiate the two genera. I don't recall if it says anything in words on the info pages about transverse ridges (I would assume it does). You can tell the difference quite easily (in most cases) based on that ridge. Misumenoides has a full, sometimes whitish transverse ridge that runs straight across the 'face' basically dividing the posterior eyes from the anterior ones. I sometimes imagine a long uni-brow, lol. Here is an example that I picked out because the transverse ridge is quite noticeable (see how it looks like a horizontal line right between the two rows of eyes):

And then Misumena are 'technically' lacking the transverse ridge but have instead two eyes on each side of the 'head' on tubercles, which are basically a knob-like growth. I think of this genus as the ones with normal brows, lol. Sometimes it helps me remember if I pick small characteristics like that to focus on. So here is a great example of what I just tried to explain (see how its similar to a broken transverse ridge; or two regular brows with nothing in-between):

I always feel like I don't make much sense when trying too hard to explain something fairly simple, so I apologize if this was lengthy and unhelpful. I just didn't think it would be right to tell you the ID was wrong without explaining how or why.

Okay, so remember: Misumenoides = uni-brow & Misumena = regular brows. (Your spider has regular brows.)

I hope this helps for any future use. :) And kudos on the cool prey capture shot! They are amazing predators.

color question
also, I have her in captivity, her abdomen is rather small in the picture since she was starving in a friend's car, but she has since fed on a honeybee and is quite plump - I wonder if she'll develop the colors on her abdomen and eyes now that she's fed and in a different environment? The eye and abdomen colors seem to be more typical than all-white.... I may try to get a better shot of the eyes (head on) after she's done feeding.

Good question...
Here's a link to one I photographed that looks very similar to yours (and same species).

And as for colors, this species (M. vatia) can have an overall body color of either white or yellow. That's all. But there are occasionally green or red stripes (or brown or...etc) down the abdomen as they get older and larger. (The males have much more dark colors and are much smaller.) They can change color between the yellow and white based on their surroundings...although it takes about week for the full color-change to finish. As for the eye area, I have seen a few different tints of color there in my own experience...reds, oranges, greens, yellows. And sometimes the eyes themselves look reddish, like you can see in the thumblink above.

But to answer you question about if she'll change now that she's fed in a new may have to do an experiment of your own and keep an eye on her and report back to us what happened. :) Or perhaps another spider lover will visit this page and chime in. All the juvenile, white ones that I've kept in captivity stayed white for months on end (sometimes having a more yellow tint a few days at a time), at which point I released them and haven't heard from them since (lol). I am not an expert on this species (amateur!) but I'm sure there are more technical biological things that go on behind the scenes that help determine their color or lack thereof. I have heard this is an extraordinary book from many spider folk (1) but I haven't read it yet. I bet it has all the answers to your questions about this species. Ah, well...that's enough rambling for this comment. :)

pretty picture :) I hope she decides to change color, if she does I'll definitely post another picture!

haha thank you very much - wi
haha thank you very much - with the images that makes more sense - when I read the ID page it seemed to emphasize the eye visibility/size more so I missed those details =/ I definitely welcome tips for differentiating genera!

Oh, no! Error!
I feel like an idiot, lol! (*blushing*) I totally misled you (sort of). The transverse ridge is actually the ridge/line across the face between the anterior eyes and the chelicerae the looks like a mustache on Misumenoides. It IS NOT the 'line' between the posterior and anterior eye rows. This is so embarrassing. I'm sorry. That mustache ridge is actually what sets Misumenoides apart from the other genera...not necessarily the uni-brow theory (although I still use it). Once you get used to seeing them, it's pretty easy to tell the difference right off the bat, but obviously its not as easy for me to describe how they're different. Lol! What can I say, I'm an amateur. But your spidey is still a Misumena vatia. :) Oh, and Merry Christmas!

No worries, merry xmas to you
No worries, merry xmas to you too - my field guide had a picture of a white and a yellow morph of Misumena vatia, but the guide had misled me before so I didn't want to rely on just a picture alone, hence my attempt to ID based on the eyes, lol

You were right actually...
The eyes are always the place to start with spiders. And I wouldn't laugh at your attempt to ID the eyes. To tell you the truth, before I got more familiar with this species, every time I tried to use the info page I couldn't decide if I had Misumena or Misumenoides. I think it's all relative to what angle you're looking from and the light in the room...etc. Sometimes in real life it's hard to see the eye sizes and stuff, but once you get a photo to stare at- it helps a little. Misumenops was always easier since it's notoriously hairy.

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