Arrowhead Spider (Verrucosa arenata) 102208

Arrowhead Spider (Verrucosa arenata) 102208The photo on the right was taken by Alison M., an undergraduate student in Katy, Texas. She had taken a photo of the same species several weeks before, but at night, and in poor light, so the quality of that image was not stellar. I initially mistook it for Acanthepeira stellata, then realized the anterior medial spine, a prominent feature of that species, was missing and that led to the correct identification, Verrucosa arenata). On the lookout since then, Alison finally found another of that species, in the daylight.  (see Ubick et al, [2005], pg. 71 and 328 for additional details.) The genus Verrucosa has but one species, arenata. This spider was first described by Hentz, in 1835, who attached the epithet Epeira verrucosa, nomen nudem (Nomen nudem, "naked name," is a scientific name that the taxonomist cannot associate with a recognizable biological entity). The same spider was described later by Walckenaer, in 1841-2, who named it Epeira arenata. McCook, in 1888, created the genus Verrucosa out of Hentz's specific name, and the species arenata out of Walckenaer's specific name (misspelling it Verucosa at first, but correcting his mistake in 1894.) Verrucosa is from a Latin adjective meaning "warty" and refers to tubercles on the spider's abdomen, which are shown more clearly in the enlargements of page 2. B.J. Kaston (1972), spiral, p. 143, describes this spider as having an elevated head that is much darker than the thoracic portion of the cephalothorax, and this distinction is obvious in Alison's photo. Kaston mentions that this spider, which in the female ranges from 8-9mm and in the male 5.5-6mm, prefers deciduous forests, and that, contrary to the usual manner of orbweavers, the female sits in the center of its snare with its head upward, (as with Alison's specimen; for those who are not certain what they are looking at, the head is in the upper portion of the photo, and the triangular abdomen is below)  NEXT PAGE ---- PAGE MENU:  1  *  2  *  

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