Small Black Ground Spider

2015 October 17

Well, since Halloween is coming, I guess it would be appropriate to keep going with the spiders for the next couple of weeks. This little black spider was in the kitchen sink on July 26, 2015. That’s a water drop on his back, at the “waist” between the cephalothorax and the abdomen, because he got a bit wet before I noticed him running around the sink drain. He’s not very big, his body is only maybe 4 mm long.

Here is a shot that clearly shows the large pedipalps waving around on either side of his face, that identify him as male.

We have a lot of spiders around that look like this, that are mostly visible in the spring just as the snow is melting off. It looks like one of the little black free-roaming “ground spiders” in the genus Zelotes.

They kind of resemble wolf spiders in body shape and general habits, but the eyes are all wrong. Instead of the two big eyes that wolf spiders have, these have eyes that are all about the same size (although it does look like there are two eyes in particular that reflect the camera flash[1])

[1] There are evidently a number of nocturnal spiders that have eyes that reflect light, similar to the way nocturnal mammals like cats have reflective eyes. Wolf spiders in particular can be easily spotted at night if you go out with a small flashlight. If you hold the light right next to your eye, the spider eyes will act as retroreflectors and shine the light straight back at you, making a bright spot. This is reported to be a good way to find a lot of spiders in a hurry.

6 Responses
  1. October 17, 2015

    When I saw the post title, I instinctively thought of recipe ingredients. “1/4 tsp small, black, ground spider.”


  2. Anne Bingham permalink
    October 17, 2015

    Or 1/2 tsp if you have only fresh, non-ground spider available.

  3. October 18, 2015

    Since I don’t have any ground spider in my cupboard and I don’t feel like going to the store, I Googled “black ground spider substitute,” but couldn’t find anything worthwhile. I think I’ll just go with coriander and see how it works out.

  4. October 19, 2015

    I always thought of spiders as more of a main ingredient than as a spice, but I suppose these little fellows wouldn’t go very far in a recipe like this one:

  5. October 19, 2015

    Tsk, tsk. Ground spider is a key ingredient in so many recipes… how could you let yourself run out? 🙂

  6. October 20, 2015

    @Will – I used all of mine up cooking for a big party the other night and spent Sunday watching football instead of going to the store. I feel like such a lazy slob!

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