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Spider Identification in Miami, FL

Spider Identification in Miami, FL


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These two spiders were found at the Fairchild Gardens in Miami, FL.

What spiders are these?


New Species Of Venomous Spider Identified At Florida Zoo

The pine rocklands trapdoor spider recently was identified at a South Florida zoo. Pictured above is another species of trapdoor, the ummidia nidicolens, emerging from its burrow. (Getty Images/Oxford Scientific)

MIAMI, FL — Arachnophobes, beware — a new species of venomous spider recently was identified in South Florida with the help of researchers at a Miami-based zoo.

Zoo Miami Conservation & Research shared a photo of the spider to its Facebook page, introducing it as the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider.

Though the spider was first discovered in 2012 while a staff member was checking reptile traps in the endangered pine rocklands surrounding Zoo Miami, Tampa Bay-based FOX 13 reported.


Mysterious, new tarantula-like spider identified in the Florida Everglades

(CNN) — An elusive spider related to the tarantula just joined the ranks of recognized spiders.

The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider lives in the Florida Everglades and it’s a rare breed. It has only been spotted a handful of times since the 1920s and only recently did the clever arachnid get its name for the habitat it lives in, according to Rebecca Godwin, an assistant professor of biology at Piedmont University.

These spiders likely only live in the pine rockland habitat of southern Florida, which is “highly threatened,” Godwin told CNN. Their homeland of pines growing on limestone outcrops has slowly been destroyed by mankind.

“Development, urbanization, land clearing, anything that destroys the topsoil could potentially wipe out whole populations and especially for a spider that occurs in such a small range of really threatened habitat, you kind of risk losing the species all together,” Godwin said.

The spider is one of 33 new species from the Americas to be added to the genus Ummidia, which are trapdoor spiders. Godwin and Jason E. Bond, an entomology professor from University of California, Davis, co-authored the study, published in April in the journal ZooKeys.

“The fact that a new species like this could be found in a fragment of endangered forest in the middle of the city underscores the importance of preserving these ecosystems before we lose not only what we know, but also what is still to be discovered,” Frank Ridgley, Zoo Miami Conservation & Veterinary Services Manager, said in a news release.

Finding and collecting enough examples of the spider has been tricky.

A zookeeper checking reptile research traps at Zoo Miami snapped a photo of the large-bodied spider in 2012 and two years later, another one was found. The mysterious spider didn’t match any species on record, the zoo said in a press release.

The zoo sent the data to Godwin, who has been studying trapdoor spiders for almost a decade. The previous samples she had from museums were from the 1920s and 1950s, she said.

“It was really exciting for me,” Godwin said. “Even only having one to two specimens, I was already pretty sure it was a new species.”

The characteristics of the male trapdoor spiders are what help identify the species, she said. The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider is a black and about one to 1.5 inches across, including the legs. The males have an opalescent abdomen, she said.

“If one were to call spiders beautiful, I find it a very gorgeous looking spider,” Godwin said.

No females of this species have yet to be found, Godwin said. Other females in the trapdoor spider group usually have a front end that looks like patent leather, she added.

Trapdoor spiders are related to tarantulas. They tend to be smaller, less hairy, their fangs point a different way and they share some physical features with their tarantula cousins, Godwin said.

Even though large spiders can freak people out, Godwin said these trapdoor spiders are not coming to get you. The spiders live in such a small area and they burrow into the ground, living in it for most of its life. Some female spiders of this group can live to be more than 20 years old.

While they are venomous — most spiders are — the venom of the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider is not “medically important,” Godwin said. Translation: The venom isn’t dangerous to humans.

Research on the venom could yield interesting applications to humans, according to Ridgley.

“Venoms of related species have been found to contain compounds with potential use as pain medications and cancer treatments,” Ridgley said.

When Godwin talks about her work with spiders, she said she typically hears how many spiders a person has smashed that week.

“I feel like working on spiders, you spend a lot of your time just fighting bad press,” Godwin said. “It’s an uphill battle to point out these are helping organisms, if anything. They don’t carry any diseases to give to humans, they are not aggressive and literally live underground.”

Trapdoor spiders are known for creating a door to their burrow and staying underground, Godwin said. They stick out their legs and grab small bugs scampering by without having to leave their bunker. When in danger, they shut their silk-spun door and ward off intruders.

The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider and other previously “unknown diversity” are what fascinate Godwin the most about our planet. She wants to keep studying spiders like this one, who lives in a habitat “in peril,” before that’s lost, she said.

“I’m continually blown away about how little we know about what is out there living on the planet with us,” Godwin said. “There are so many species getting lost, going extinct before we even knew they ever existed.”

(Copyright (c) 2021 CNN. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


New Species of Venomous Spider Discovered in Florida Looks Like Pitch-Black Tarantula

In news that will no doubt send a shiver up arachnophobes' spines, Georgia biologist Rebecca Godwin has conclusively identified the Pine Rockland trapdoor spider as a new species.

The spider resembles "a small tarantula without the hair," Frank Ridgley, Zoo Miami's conservation and veterinary services manager, told Newsweek, adding that its "body is shiny black, almost metallic looking."

But the similarities don't end there. Like tarantulas, Pine Rockland trapdoor spiders are venomous, though their venom is not nearly potent enough to pose a danger to humans. Its primary purpose is to make the contents of prey insects easier to consume, Ridgley said. He compared the pain of a bite to that of a bee sting.

"Even though they appear menacing, they are very shy and are reluctant to bite. Someone would have to roughly handle one to make it feel defensive to elicit a bite," Ridgley said.

The first Pine Rockland trapdoor spider was discovered in a reptile trap planted in the forest surrounding Zoo Miami in 2012 the second was discovered in the same manner more than two years later.

Unable to make a positive ID, zoo staff eventually consulted experts. From the outset, Godwin had "no doubt that [the spider] was a new species."

"I already had a suspicion that there was an undescribed species in that area of Florida, and had simply lacked the specimens to properly describe it," she told Newsweek.

On April 2, nearly a decade after the first known sighting, Godwin and her colleague Jason Bond described the spider in a paper published in the zoology journal ZooKeys.

While males are about "an inch across" and can reach the age of seven or so, Godwin believes that females are significantly larger and longer-lived, though she has yet to collect a female specimen to confirm her hypothesis.

The spiders are endemic to the pine rocklands&mdashcritically endangered patches of pine forest&mdashthat border Zoo Miami. However, they are likely "threatened" as a result of habitat loss, Godwin said.

"This goes for many such species of trapdoor spider. Since they aren't able to disperse very far (and in the case of females don't disperse at all as adults) and their ranges can be relatively small, they are very vulnerable to things like urban development and other human activity&mdashentire populations can be wiped out by a parking lot or golf course, for example," she said.

Trapdoor spiders are so named because of their hunting technique. Timid by nature, the spiders dig burrows in the earth that feature a hinged "door" that conceals them from view. When insects pass too close to the door, the spiders pounce and feast.


Mysterious, new tarantula-like spider identified in the Florida Everglades

From Zoo Miami Meet the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider, who was recently identified in Florida.

An elusive spider related to the tarantula just joined the ranks of recognized spiders.

The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider lives in the Florida Everglades and it’s a rare breed. It has only been spotted a handful of times since the 1920s and only recently did the clever arachnid get its name for the habitat it lives in, according to Rebecca Godwin, an assistant professor of biology at Piedmont University.

These spiders likely only live in the pine rockland habitat of southern Florida, which is “highly threatened,” Godwin told CNN. Their homeland of pines growing on limestone outcrops has slowly been destroyed by mankind.

“Development, urbanization, land clearing, anything that destroys the topsoil could potentially wipe out whole populations and especially for a spider that occurs in such a small range of really threatened habitat, you kind of risk losing the species all together,” Godwin said.

The spider is one of 33 new species from the Americas to be added to the genus Ummidia, which are trapdoor spiders. Godwin and Jason E. Bond, an entomology professor from University of California, Davis, co-authored the study, published in April in the journal ZooKeys.

“The fact that a new species like this could be found in a fragment of endangered forest in the middle of the city underscores the importance of preserving these ecosystems before we lose not only what we know, but also what is still to be discovered,” Frank Ridgley, Zoo Miami Conservation & Veterinary Services Manager, said in a news release.

Finding and collecting enough examples of the spider has been tricky.

A zookeeper checking reptile research traps at Zoo Miami snapped a photo of the large-bodied spider in 2012 and two years later, another one was found. The mysterious spider didn’t match any species on record, the zoo said in a press release.

The zoo sent the data to Godwin, who has been studying trapdoor spiders for almost a decade. The previous samples she had from museums were from the 1920s and 1950s, she said.

“It was really exciting for me,” Godwin said. “Even only having one to two specimens, I was already pretty sure it was a new species.”

The characteristics of the male trapdoor spiders are what help identify the species, she said. The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider is a black and about one to 1.5 inches across, including the legs. The males have an opalescent abdomen, she said.

“If one were to call spiders beautiful, I find it a very gorgeous looking spider,” Godwin said.

No females of this species have yet to be found, Godwin said. Other females in the trapdoor spider group usually have a front end that looks like patent leather, she added.

Trapdoor spiders are related to tarantulas. They tend to be smaller, less hairy, their fangs point a different way and they share some physical features with their tarantula cousins, Godwin said.

Even though large spiders can freak people out, Godwin said these trapdoor spiders are not coming to get you. The spiders live in such a small area and they burrow into the ground, living in it for most of its life. Some female spiders of this group can live to be more than 20 years old.

While they are venomous — most spiders are — the venom of the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider is not “medically important,” Godwin said. Translation: The venom isn’t dangerous to humans.

Research on the venom could yield interesting applications to humans, according to Ridgley.

“Venoms of related species have been found to contain compounds with potential use as pain medications and cancer treatments,” Ridgley said.

When Godwin talks about her work with spiders, she said she typically hears how many spiders a person has smashed that week.

“I feel like working on spiders, you spend a lot of your time just fighting bad press,” Godwin said. “It’s an uphill battle to point out these are helping organisms, if anything. They don’t carry any diseases to give to humans, they are not aggressive and literally live underground.”

Trapdoor spiders are known for creating a door to their burrow and staying underground, Godwin said. They stick out their legs and grab small bugs scampering by without having to leave their bunker. When in danger, they shut their silk-spun door and ward off intruders.

The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider and other previously “unknown diversity” are what fascinate Godwin the most about our planet. She wants to keep studying spiders like this one, who lives in a habitat “in peril,” before that’s lost, she said.

“I’m continually blown away about how little we know about what is out there living on the planet with us,” Godwin said. “There are so many species getting lost, going extinct before we even knew they ever existed.”


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MIAMI, Fla. (WFLA) – The staff at Zoo Miami helped discover a brand new species of large spider in the critically endangered Pine Rockland forest surrounding the zoo.

The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider, scientifically known as Ummidia richmond, was first found by a zookeeper who was checking reptile research traps in 2012. Officials with Zoo Miami say the zookeeper shared a photo of the spider with the zoo’s Conservation and Research Department for identification, however, it didn’t match any existing records for known species in the region.

Over two years later, another spider was found and sent to experts for evaluation.

Zoo Miami said the spider made its way to Dr. Rebecca Godwin of Piedmont College in Georgia who was in the process of looking at this group of spiders, which are related to tarantulas.

Godwin was making detailed classifications and descriptions of the members of this Genus Ummidia, found in North America. She confirmed that this particular group of species was a “previously undescribed species,” according to Zoo Miami.

  • Courtesy of Zoo Miami
  • Courtesy of Zoo Miami

“The fact that a new species like this could be found in a fragment of endangered forest in the middle of the city underscores the importance of preserving these ecosystems before we lose not only what we know, but also what is still to be discovered,” said Zoo Miami Conservation & Veterinary Services Manager Frank Ridgley. “Venoms of related species have been found to contain compounds with potential use as pain medications and cancer treatments.”

According to Zoo Miami, spiders of this type are usually habitat specialists and can live for decades in the same burrow for their entire life. They are known to be some of the longest-lived spider species known.

At this time, the species has not been documented for 35 years anywhere else except the pine rockland fragments around Zoo Miami. The zoo’s staff said it has only found a handful of males through the years and a female of the species has yet to ever be found.

Considering only about 1.5 percent of the pine rocklands outside Everglades National Park are left in Miami-Dade County, it is likely that this endemic and elusive spider is already imperiled.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Golden Silk Spider, Nephila clavipes

The golden silk spider is found throughout Florida and the southeastern United States. The female is distinctively colored, and is among the largest orb-weaving spiders in the country. The female is 25 mm to 40 mm long and has conspicuous hair tufts on her long legs. Males are about 4 mm to 6 mm long, dark-brown, and are often found in the webs of females. These spiders feed primarily on flying insects, which they catch in webs that may be greater than a meter in diameter. They are most commonly found in forests, along trails and at clearing edges.


New Spider Species Discovered in Miami

Published April 14, 2021 &bull Updated on April 14, 2021 at 4:25 pm

A brand new spider species was discovered in the Pine Rockland forest near Zoo Miami, zoo officials announced Wednesday.

The Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider (Ummidia richmond) was first found back in 2012 by a zookeeper who was checking reptile research traps. Two years later, Dr. Rebecca Godwin of Piedmont College -- who was in the process of looking at this group of spiders related to tarantulas -- confirmed that the spider was a previously undescribed species.

"The fact that a new species like this could be found in a fragment of endangered forest in the middle of the city underscores the importance of preserving these ecosystems before we lose not only what we know, but also what is still to be discovered," said Frank Ridgley, Zoo Miami's Conservation & Veterinary Services Manager. "Venoms of related species have been found to contain compounds with potential use as pain medications and cancer treatments."

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This type of spider is already likely imperiled, zoo officials said, since only about 1.5% of the pine rocklands outside Everglades National Park are left in Miami-Dade County.

This type of species are habitat specialists and can live for decades in the same burrow for their entire life, and are known to be some of the longest lived spider species known.

Zoo Miami staff have found only a handful of males through the years and have yet to find a female of the species.


Mystery over four spiders found in Miami is solved: It’s an entirely new species

When a previously unknown creature is found in South Florida, it’s usually an invasive species brought into the region from an exotic location.

Not so with four mysterious spiders found near Zoo Miami over the past decade. These guys are just extremely elusive.

And now, a researcher at Piedmont University in Georgia determined that the four male spiders are members of a new species called the Pine Rockland trapdoor spider, named for the forest surrounding Zoo Miami and the way the spiders hunt.

Zoo employees have found four of the quarter-sized spiders in the area since 2012.

“But we’ve never found a female,” said Frank Ridgley, head of Zoo Miami’s conservation and research department. “So, since 2012, we’ve found four males and that’s it.”

But Ridgley said where there are males there must be females, which are likely to be two to three times larger than the males.

Pine Rockland trapdoor spiders only venture a short distance from where they were born, Ridgley said. They burrow into sandy soil to make a home and live in that same burrow for their entire lives, possibly as long as 40 years.

A lid atop their burrow provides shelter and camouflage. The Pine Rocklands are ambush predators and Ridgley thinks they hunt by waiting for prey to come near the burrow, then pouncing out of the trap door.

There are other species of trapdoor spiders, mostly found in the southwest U.S. “They’re all in the family that’s closely related to tarantulas,” Ridgley said, “and you can kind of see that.”

Although it is unknown if the Pine Rocklands have natural predators, Ridgley said other trapdoor spiders must watch out for parasitic wasps that might detect the spiders through a chemical signature.

“They can actually pierce the little lid on top of their tunnel they use to hide and lay an egg in there, or on the spider itself, and then it uses the spider to raise like its babies,” he said. “It’s a horrible-sounding process, but it’s a parasitic wasp and that’s one kind of predators we know. But is anything able to detect them and dig them up out of these burrows? I don’t know.”

Ridgley said Zoo Miami employees find some type of rare species, both animals and plants, about once a year. He said about 12 or 15 years ago, a Miami tiger beetle was found in the same area where the Pine Rockland Trapdoor Spider was found. The beetle was thought to be extinct for about 80 years, Ridgley said.

No one is yet sure how many Pine Rocklands there are, but Ridgley said he suspect there are very few.


Mike on June 23, 2020:

Yup, found the second one in my house within a month. I may be moving out now lol. They are big and fast. Not sure how to get rid of them.

Stephen on August 01, 2019:

I found a spider as big as a baseball

hi on May 14, 2019:

there was a spider that was in our house not sure if it was a huntsman spider so wanting to make came here thank you for the info

INeedToKnowAboutInsects on August 06, 2018:

Inside my bedroom there’s this crack in the wall and every night I see two shiny black fangs hanging out of it and it makes my cats jump at the wall. Every night, I get scared to sleep in case it’s venomous and I get worried for my cats. I’ve tried using a hoover in the day but had no luck as it wasn’t there. So I tried at night, it was there, but when we used the hoover it the spider was too big and there was a nest. What’s the best way to remove a spider nest without getting hurt or damaging it? And more info about the spiders look: shiny black fangs red streaks across its body. I’m so scared and am worried to go in my room at night. What type of spider isn’t this and is it venomous?

Fred on June 20, 2018:

Did you not even research any of these before you wrote this? Embarrassing.

Ke young on June 17, 2018:

Yes cellar spiders are dangerous if you are allergic to them. I almost lost my ear to one. The bite destroys tissue and causes the tissue to foam away. Be advised to get antibiotic, antihistamine and use ice to push toxins out. Else the toxins will spread killing more tissue.

Chrisanne on April 09, 2018:

Not sure what I have found outside very large says only 2 times found inside and in the month of April yes. About one inch long black big fangs and need to know if it&aposs poisonous or harmful to Pat

[email protected] on August 08, 2017:

I have a picture of what i thought was a golden web spider but its leg span was at least ten inches, what do you think it is. I tried to paste the pic on this comment but failed!

VelvGu9 on July 29, 2017:

Anyone know what kind of Florida spider likes to spin a thick line from higher up and then somehow always find my car before morning? The thread is quite thick.

squirrelhoudini on July 15, 2017:

I&aposm my house, big, black, with a circular pattern around its base, on the back, and it&aposs main body is about quarter to half dollar size? I have a picture

[email protected] on July 02, 2017:

I had s spider and babies bite me today from a bag of mulch. It had black legs, Grey body and white stripes on body&aposs. I searched online but can&apost find it. Any help is appreciated

Chase on June 27, 2017:

What kind of spider here in Florida will be very large, brown, and typically carry its babies under its stomach or butt. But when i say big, im talking 3-5 inch leg span. The spider normally has markings on its head and butt.

Just a question on November 02, 2016:

What about the huntsmen spiders?

kjforce from Florida on March 09, 2015:

Paul ( BigBrains ),owning a horse barn,Thank you for a very informative and well written article/with pics. I have forwarded your write to many of our friends who have recently relocated to Florida..this will be a welcomed gift..

When we relocated to Florida over 35 years ago and owning a Horse barn what an education . we learned about these Spiders the hard way. first hand..bite by bite. thanks again for the share.



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