Photo From You : Insect Identification

June 12, 2008

This week we have a very interesting photo which has come all the way from Maryland! Anthony Prushinski found this medium sized brown spider at the bottom of his pool.


An unidentified spider and a dime at the bottom of a

Thank you Anthony for the photo, unfortunately, I don’t think I can be all that helpful with this one! I cannot see clearly enough to identify the species. I can, however, tell you what it is not! I imagine you may be worried that you have found a Brown Recluse. Although the body shape, color, and legs are similar, this is not a Brown Recluse! Considering the size of the spider, my best guess would be some sort of Wolf Spider. Wolf Spiders can be large and may look intimidating, but they are non-agressive and harmless.

I would like to take this opportunity to share with you guys what we look for in a photo to properly identify your questionable critters. Most people know when they come accross a ladybug, or a honeybee, but odds are, if you don’t know what the heck it is, we’re going to have to look very closely at it to identify it. Close-up photos are best and the clearer the better. We’d like to tell you the exact species and many times there are very obscure qualities that separate the species from all the rest. Many spiders look alike, so with these guys we need to be able to see thinge like colors, patterns, eye arrangement, length and arrangement of legs, ect… . If you’re not able to get a clear picture, or the bug is too small, feel free to bring it to the Butterfly Center (or mail it)! We have microscopes, keys, books, and all kinds of other resources here to help us out.

Right now we are in prime bug time. It’s hot and everyone is a flutter with activity. It is a wonderful time to get outside, go for a nice walk and snap some pictures. We hope you keep them coming!

Happy bug watching!

Erin M
Authored By Erin M Mills

Erin Mills received her undergraduate degree in Entomology from Texas A&M University in 2004, and after a short tour of the pest control industry, joined HMNS as the Cockrell Butterfly Center's Insect Zoo Manager in 2005. Over the years she expanded the butterfly center's live arthropod collection, developed the ever popular "Bugs on Wheels" outreach program, and continued to establish her role as HMNS's insect expert. In October of 2016, she achieved her long time goal of becoming Director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center. She is constantly striving to improve the butterfly center and how it serves and educates the public about the wonderful and amazing world of insects! As a Board Certified Entomologist, Erin has extensive knowledge of insect identification, ecology, plant relationships, husbandry, really any insect-related topic!

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