Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Furry Friend

Furry Friend
Originally uploaded by jstevewhite

A couple of years ago I found a huge brown spider in my bathtub. I photographed it, and examined it carefully. Threw it in a jar and got out the loupe. Sure enough, loxosceles reclusa - the infamous Brown Recluse. It was a female with a body about the maximum size quoted by the various online .edu sites, approximately 3/4" long. Doesn't sound like much, does it? I swear that thing was 3" from toetip to toetip. And those legs aren't skinny, fragile looking legs like a grand daddy long legs has. They're thick and strong, and FAST.

This got me to researching brown recluse spiders. They're exceedingly common in the Midwest. One site I read said, "If you live in Missouri, Kansas, or Arkansas, you've got 'em in your attic or basement or both."

I read that they can live for up to two years in a closed box with no water or food. That's just evil, no matter how you cut it. They don't groom themselves, so residual pesticides are ineffective; you have to spray the poison ON the buggers to kill 'em. Unfortunately, people spray for 'brown recluse', end up killing all the spiders that feed on brown recluse, and end up with an infestation.

That's why this guy is my friend. I've watched these jumping spiders take brown recluse with abandon, running them down and jumping on them. It's a beautiful thing to see. There's a smaller, slightly less hairy version of this individual living on my desk lamp. We're buddies. I keep telling him as long as he eats the brownies, he's good in my book. He just smiles.

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