Seven-legged spider-UPDATE

A not so itsy-bitsy-spider was climbing the walls of the house yesterday and later found exploring the front porch. Not yet sure what he is, but have a query in to the Arthropod Museum curator at the University of Arkansas. Toe-to-toe, this fellow was about the size of a quarter. He was also missing a leg, which made his climb harder. During one of his slow climbs, he fell off the wall, but got back up again.

Thanks to the entomologists at the U of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, we have an ID for our mystery man:

“That is an adult male Myrmekiaphila, the only eastern genus of Euctenizidae, the ‘wafer-lid trapdoor spiders.’ The name ‘Myrmekiaphila’, meaning “ant-loving” refers to fact that early authors found burrows near ant nests … although there is no actual association with these spiders and ants.┬áMales reach adulthood in the fall and early winter, when they leave their burrows and wander in search of females (which remain in their burrows). The strange modification of the first leg (metatarsus) seen in these photos is used to grip the females forelegs and push her backwards awkwardly, which prevents her from eating him during mating.”
Red spider on concrete brick.Red spider on tan bricks looking at front of spider.

12-27 Mystery Spider9

The blob

When I was a kid, the 1958 Steve McQueen movie, “The Blob,” was terrifying. At some point, you get older and realize the horror of the big, gooey monster is just fiction, confined to the big screen. But then, you get even older and realize the blob does exist, and it’s called cedar apple rust. As diseases go, it’s pretty spectacular looking, sort of spider chrysanthemum meets orange Jell-o, all activated by the spring rain.

However its fungal glory is short-lived. A week later, the stars were dried and droopy.

FUNGUS -- One of the larger fungal "stars" of the cedar apple rust that's infected an eastern red cedar on the hill.

 

BRANCHING OUT -- Though the "stars" are the most notable part of this infection, there are more modest blobs on inner branches.

 

A WEEK LATER -- The fungal spore horns shrivel.