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Spider mystery solved

UPDATE 10:23 a.m.

The mystery of the mysterious spider has been solved.

Ashley Pritchard took a picture of a rather unusual arachnid that she found in some romaine lettuce in her garden.

With a bulbous abdomen with pink strips and near translucent head and legs, it was an odd looking specimen.

Castanet asked readers what kind of spider they thought it was and while there were several ideas, it would appear the eight-legged critter is a candy-striped spider.

Several people suggested that was the case including local insect expert Stuart Brown of The Bug Guys.

“They come in a huge range of colours from white with pink stripes, like the one found, to yellow with green stripes. Harmless to humans they are very good predators, taking down prey many times their own size,” said Brown.

According to Wikipedia the candy-striped spider is native to Europe and has also been introduced to North America.

It is notably found in Lithuania.

This spider, reaching a length of six mm (excluding legs) is variable in colour and pattern the background colour is white, cream or green and can be marked with a row of dark spots, a broad red stripe or with two red stripes in a v-shape.

Despite its small size, this is a formidable predator which can prey on insects many times its size. The female deposits its eggs in a white sac and after several days the sac gradually changes colour to a blue/grey. This is secreted within a rolled-up leaf fastened with silk and the female guards it until the eggs hatc


ORIGINAL

Ashley Pritchard had an unexpected guest for dinner Monday evening.

While the Bella Vista Road resident was cleaning some romain lettuce from her backyard garden, two very odd looking spiders dropped from the greenery.

The spiders had a bulbous pink and white abdomen and almost translucent legs and head.

“The spider dropped down from a web and really startled me,” said Pritchard. “I jumped back. I thought maybe there was an egg sack on her. It was pretty gross.”

Once over the initial surprise, Pritchard put the spider in a jar so her children could see it when they got home.

“There was actually a second one in there, but I put that one outside,” said Pritchard, but she noticed the second spider did not seem to enjoy the bright new environment.

“It's like they need a dark space because they were really deep in the romaine. It looked like it was going to die actually, so I moved it into a shadier spot.”
Pritchard said she gardens a lot and she has never come across an arachnid like this one before.

“It was very bizarre,” said Pritchard. “They were not like a wolf spider where they are quite aggressive or anything.”

So the big question is: what kind of spider is it?

It you know, send me an email at [email protected].

 



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