Black Velvet

A rescue from the swimming pool …

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This is a Black Velvet Spider.   The Eresidae include groups with very diverse lifestyles. The various genera can be identified by their different but specific webs. They are harmless.

The family can be recognized by a blunt face and rectangular carapace with 4 median eyes grouped together while the 4 lateral eyes are widely spaced. The cribellum is situated ventrally just anterior to the spinnerets in the form of a cream band. The abdomen is round to oval and the legs short and stout. All eresids are terrestrial (ground living) except for the arboreal (plant living) Stegodyphus.

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The velvet spiders are a small group (about 100 species in 10 genera) of almost totally Old World spiders (exception: a few species are known from Brazil).  They are found under rocks or bark resting in a sheet of dense white silk and are often confused with baboon spiders, and can live up to 5 years. They also rarely leave the safety of their webs.

Description:
12mm to 15mm in length. These robust spiders colouration may be from black, grey or a rich red. Body covered with hairs which give them a velvety appearance, hence their name. The abdomen is often lighter in colour than the rest of the spider. Abdomen may have 4 dimples on the top. The eyes are close together and the mouthparts are very robust looking for a spider that size. Legs are short and strong and they are widespread throughout Southern Africa.

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I found her clinging to one of the pipes of the creepy crawly and held a leaf for her to climb on.  I’m also guessing that this is a female, as the males are much smaller.  It must have been so hot for her in this blazing sun.  It doesn’t feel like Spring since yesterday.  The heat is terrible and I can only imagine what she must have felt like.

There were some old tree bark in the front garden and I quickly ran to get it for her.  I placed in into one of Pandora’s old glass containers and she quickly went from the leaf to the bark.  For those that doesn’t know Pandora – she is my eldest son’s Honduran Curlyhair Tarantula. :D

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Females seldom leave their webs in order to hunt. Instead, they prefer to wait for prey to wander into their webs and radiating silken lines. They prey upon tough skinned insects and other large prey items.

This looks like the perfect spot for her and I quickly took a few shots of her on the bark and then placed her back into the container but I am leaving it open.  This way she will be free to come and go as she pleases. :D

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“If you wish to live and thrive, Let a spider run alive. “

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