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Old 11-20-2006, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 70,814,682 times
Reputation: 10185

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This is a garden spider (Argiope genus). Harmless.
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/BransonMOagriopeofsorts.jpg (broken link)

Baby scorpions (Centruroides vittatus) in Missouri:


Latrodectus mactans (southern black widow). Photo taken in Joplin:
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/Latrodectusvariolusinbetweencrackin.jpg (broken link)

Grass spider. Harmless:
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/CarolinawolfspiderIthink.jpg (broken link)
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 70,814,682 times
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Also in Missouri are several species of venomous snakes. Just watch where you walk and keep your hands out of dark spaces that you cant see. NONE of these snakes are aggressive so the wont attack you unless cornered/provoked or stepped on. Snakes are very forgiving beasts actually, most are docile and only strike when theyre aggravated, but what animal doesnt?!?! Some are even nice enough to let you know theyre mad and need their space. Missouri has 2 rattlesnakes (dusky pygmy rattler and timber rattlers). Missouri is also home to copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix) and cottonmouths (Agkistrodon piscivorus). Remember, snakes arent out to get you. Theyre magnificent animals with a undeserved bad reputation. Please dont kill them on site, as it only does nature harm. Theyre INVALUABLE in controlling disease-spreading rodent populations. Dont be quick to kill them. Call authorities to remove them or simply leave them be. Theyre not out to get you. Only 1/10th of 1% of snake bites are fatal. Think about that for a minute.

One more thing to remember, venomous snakes in the USA (with the exception of Florida's coral snake) have eliptical pupils, making them easy to identify:

Here is a juvenile copperhead we found at our KOA Kampground in Joplin, MO.


Here is a red milk snake, absolutely harmless. Notice the round pupils? That means theyre harmless. This guy struck at me 3 times, then when he knew I wasnt a threat, he allowed me to free handle him like he was a puppy. Harmless and nice as could be. Ophidiophobic or not, snakes are our friends. Leave them be. If people could just understand them, the world wouldnt be afraid of them.
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:18 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 70,814,682 times
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Here is the habitat that I find them in. This is a glade, a dry, exposed rocky hillside almost devoid of vegetation. They love to hide under the big rocks, so they really stay out of the way, nothing to worry about. I recommend spending time observing them and seeing how truly neat they really are, then phobias would cease Im 100% sure.

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/lowerexposuregladesinBranson.jpg (broken link)

Missouri is also home to many lizards. Here is a fence lizard:
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/lizard.jpg (broken link)

Collared lizard:


And the ever present cute mantids:
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:27 PM
 
1,194 posts, read 2,008,882 times
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Beautiful photos Steve-o!

Henkelphoto
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:46 AM
 
Location: SW MO
339 posts, read 1,318,930 times
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I have lived in the KC area, Columbia and Springfield. I have spent a lot of time outdoors hiking, floating, camping, hunting, etc. I have never seen a tarantula in Missouri. I have never seen a black widow in the wild and I have only once seen a scorpion. I know of people who have had problems with brown recluse spiders and I consider them the biggest concern.

The most annoying critters are mosquitos, chiggers and ticks. They can all be dealt with by applying bug spray when you are out in the woods or fields from late spring to early fall. None are a problem day to day in town.

I have also dealt with copperheads on many occassions. And I've seen a few rattlesnakes (very few).
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,815 posts, read 12,242,566 times
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WOW!!!! Steve-O, not only are the photos fascinatingly beautiful ( I love the Praying Mantis), but the information on poisonous snakes' eye pupils being eliptical rather than round is information I have never heard before. It's good to know. When I lived in Las Vegas, I saw black widows almost nightly around my patio, under the cover of the sprinkler system controls in the ground, etc., but I haven't seen one here in Missouri yet, yet the ones in Vegas are large, black, and the red/orange marking on their undersides is more hourglass in shape than what is posted here as the example out of Joplin. I have yet to see a snake too and I live on acreage out in the country and have marched stupidly with no regard through the forest behind my house (though I did pick up a tick once). Your message regarding snakes is valid and valuable. I have an aversion to them, but I recognize they are necessary and helpful in the environment and I certainly prefer a clean snake to a filthy rodent!
About the Brown Recluse Spider, I know of them, am wary of the thought of them, but have not seen one. I've also read that people often live in homes infested with them and live completely unaware of them. The information I read also stated that Brown Recluse Spiders have difficulty in piercing most areas of the human body with their bites

Last edited by MoMark; 11-21-2006 at 12:53 PM..
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Southeast, Alabama
5 posts, read 48,592 times
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Thumbs up Here Too - Very Imformative!

Now that's the kind of information I need - concise and to the point - and with pictures even!

I did not know about the scorpions. That's one that nobody mentioned during my visits. Thanks for pointing out the fact that they live in the area so I and my children will know to be cautious in the areas where they are likely to be.

A tarantula I saw firsthand. It was the first and only tarantula I've ever seen in the wild. As I was looking at property in Seymour we walked out to the end of the driveway and there was this tarantula just treading down the side of the road. It was shocking because at the time I didn't know that they lived in the area.

I must say that I was most amazed at your photo of the brown recluse. I had no idea what they looked like, but I imagined them to be much smaller and more of a lighter brown. I had heard they would fit on the face of a quarter. Besides the fiddle shape on the head (which I really couldn't make out in the pic) is there any other way to identify this spider. Of all the things mentioned in this thread this is probably the critter I would most try to look out for.

Last edited by formadmirer; 11-21-2006 at 03:01 PM..
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Old 11-21-2006, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Missouri
6,046 posts, read 22,147,381 times
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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!

Okay, seriously, thanks for sharing all this information. It really was helpful and informative. I am very, very afraid of bugs and especially spiders, but reading your post put me a bit at ease. I was glad to hear about lizards; I like lizards a lot.

(Mental note: when buying a home in Missouri, get a spider inspection prior to closing!)
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Old 11-21-2006, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 70,814,682 times
Reputation: 10185
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoMark View Post
WOW!!!! Steve-O, not only are the photos fascinatingly beautiful ( I love the Praying Mantis), but the information on poisonous snakes' eye pupils being eliptical rather than round is information I have never heard before. It's good to know. When I lived in Las Vegas, I saw black widows almost nightly around my patio, under the cover of the sprinkler system controls in the ground, etc., but I haven't seen one here in Missouri yet, yet the ones in Vegas are large, black, and the red/orange marking on their undersides is more hourglass in shape than what is posted here as the example out of Joplin. I have yet to see a snake too and I live on acreage out in the country and have marched stupidly with no regard through the forest behind my house (though I did pick up a tick once). Your message regarding snakes is valid and valuable. I have an aversion to them, but I recognize they are necessary and helpful in the environment and I certainly prefer a clean snake to a filthy rodent!
About the Brown Recluse Spider, I know of them, am wary of the thought of them, but have not seen one. I've also read that people often live in homes infested with them and live completely unaware of them. The information I read also stated that Brown Recluse Spiders have difficulty in piercing most areas of the human body with their bites
Thanks for the comments Mark! Regarding the coloration of widows. Most juvenile widows have the red and white markings all down their abdomen until they mature. Males retain the colorings, while as females mature, with each molt they lose more and more of the upper markings and develop the infamous hourglass. The widows you saw in Vegas are Latrodectus hesperus (western widow). The females in that species have the complete hourglass as adults, where as the northern widows (Latrodectus variolus), the hourglass is split in the middle (ie, it doesnt connect all the way...it looks like two triangles). Also, females are much larger and are the only lethal ones. Bites from male widows have never resulted in death.

Here are a few more photos of a black widow. Notice the first picture (this one I shot closely on macro setting) how the abdominal stripe is present. This is a female that isnt fully matured yet. She has the hourglass, but has not matured yet enough to shed the red stripe:
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/closeupoffreshlyshedwidow10-4-06.jpg (broken link)

Here is the same widow (this is a quick crappy pic) showing her hourglass. So what Im getting at is that even though they have the stripe, they can still have the hourglass, it just takes time for them to lose the stripe. Widows that are all black except for the hourglass just means theyre fully matured:
http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/hourglassshot.jpg (broken link)

Last edited by Steve-o; 11-21-2006 at 04:05 PM..
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Old 11-21-2006, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 70,814,682 times
Reputation: 10185
Quote:
Originally Posted by formadmirer View Post
Now that's the kind of information I need - concise and to the point - and with pictures even!

I did not know about the scorpions. That's one that nobody mentioned during my visits. Thanks for pointing out the fact that they live in the area so I and my children will know to be cautious in the areas where they are likely to be.

A tarantula I saw firsthand. It was the first and only tarantula I've ever seen in the wild. As I was looking at property in Seymour we walked out to the end of the driveway and there was this tarantula just treading down the side of the road. It was shocking because at the time I didn't know that they lived in the area.

I must say that I was most amazed at your photo of the brown recluse. I had no idea what they looked like, but I imagined them to be much smaller and more of a lighter brown. I had heard they would fit on the face of a quarter. Besides the fiddle shape on the head (which I really couldn't make out in the pic) is there any other way to identify this spider. Of all the things mentioned in this thread this is probably the critter I would most try to look out for.
Formadmirer, Im glad to help out! Missouri is full of wonderful creatures that get a undeserved bad reputation. Im here to dispel any myths surrounding these wonderful critters. The scorpions in Missouri often get into houses, depending on your locale. They hide anywhere dark and damp. Lots of times they hide in shoes and clothes/towels on the floor.

As for the recluses, large ones are a little bigger than quarters. The ones in Kansas and Missouri were the biggest Ive seen yet. I saw several that were about 2" leg span, which is quite large for a recluse. The only other way to tell recluses (other than the fiddle marking) is the eye configuration. I believe theyre the only spider that has 6 eyes. Theyre grouped in sets of two on the front of the carapace (head). Here is a photo of a freshly shed recluse, the eye configuration is clearly visible. This one had JUST shed its skin, thats why its all pale looking. The fiddle/violin marking hasnt darkened yet either, but you can still see the outline.

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j292/Illinoisboy/moltedL.jpg (broken link)
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