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Hawaiian Gasteracantha cancriformis

Hawaiian Gasteracantha cancriformis
Waikoloa, Hawaii South Kohala County, Hawaii, USA
January 20, 2006
These little critters are easy to find here on the Big Island of Hawai'i. I've been told they bite, though I do not have first-hand knowledge of this behavior.

Images of this individual: tag all
Hawaiian Gasteracantha cancriformis Hawaiian Gasteracantha cancriformis

Joshua & Bill - Without having investigated thoroughly -
It appears that these names (and some others) may be getting mixed up and confused some, and that we were all correct - sort of (Joshua totally so).

For instance (just a small sample) - - -

Here we have G. mammosa listed and perfectly matching the insect posted here: - using the same common name as for the similar Asian Thelacantha brevispina.

And here we have G. mammosa listed as a synonym of G. cancriformis, which is a quite different American species:

To be honest, I'm still not 100% certain which name is most correct for which spider, but I think I've figured it out.

Here's my take on it. It would appear (though I may have some details a bit off? - or - there may be more to it) that the name G. mammosa was long applied incorrectly to Asian T. brevispina. A correction has that name switched, as a synonym, to the rather different American G. cancriformis. This has created confusion that still shows up in some recent literature, and that has not yet been entirely sorted out. So, T. brevispina is the same creature that was formerly usually called G. mammosa (and is the creature shown in this posting). Also, it appears that the genus Thelacantha is currently considered monotypic (with only one species), and was separated from within Gasteracantha when it was described way back in 1882.

Check out this blurb at Wikipedia, the synonymy given is impressive:

This Wiki-blurb is also relevant and interesting. It sounds like molecular studies will have it as Gasteracantha brevispina (or perhaps some other combination) rather soon:

try Gasteracantha mammosa

another idea
David, I just looked on iNaturalist. It does not show G. mammosa for Hawai'i, but does show an Asian species, Thelacantha brevispina. Looks like a pretty good match for this.

Further, all species are capa
Further, all species are capable of biting in defense, but as long as you tend to know what to look for, you should be OK. I handle these guys quite often in my lab and in the field. I often bring this around to the kules for the keikis to interact with!

When I started my lab, I was quite obsessed with tracking the different color morphs on the different islands/biomes. I live in Hilo and my lab is there, but have collected some beautiful color morphs over the years.

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