Class Arachnida (Spiders and Mites) in the Christopher B. Smith Preserve

Class Arachnida Characteristics: Members of Class Arachnida have eight jointed legs. Although most arachnids are terrestrial, there are some aquatic species. In all, there are over 100,000 named species of arachnids that include spiders, scorpions, harvestmen, ticks, mites, and solifuges (sun spiders). Several orders of arachnids have been photographed in the preserve and are listed below. Order Araneae are spiders. Once classified together into Order Acari, mites and ticks are now placed into 10 orders.

Interactions in the Smith Preserve: Arachnids eat many insects and other arthropods, and they are prey for a variety of other organisms (arthropods, birds, snakes, and fish.) Some arachnids (mites and ticks) are parasitic and can carry diseases.

 
Order
Family
Species Name
Common Name
Araneae
Anyphaenidae
Lupettiana mordax
Araneae
Araneidae
Acaesia hamata
Araneae
Araneidae
Araneus calusa
Araneae
Araneidae
Cyclosa sp.
Araneae
Araneidae
Cyrtophora citricola
Araneae
Araneidae
Eriophora ravilla
Araneae
Araneidae
Eustala sp.
Araneae
Araneidae
Eustala sp. ?
Araneae
Araneidae
Gasteracantha cancriformis
Araneae
Araneidae
Gea heptagon
Araneae
Araneidae
Unknown
Araneae
Araneidae
Unknown
Araneae
Dictynidae
Lathys sp.
Araneae
Dictynidae
Unknown
Araneae
Dictynidae
Unknown
Araneae
Dictynidae
Unknown
Araneae
Dictynidae
Unknown
Araneae
Gnaphosidae
Litopyllus cubanas
Araneae
Linyphiidae
Agyneta sp.?
Araneae
Linyphiidae
Agyneta sp.?
Araneae
Linyphiidae
Florinda coccinea
Araneae
Linyphiidae
Unknown Species
Araneae
Linyphiidae
Unknown Species
Araneae
Miturgidae
Cheiracanthium inclusum
Araneae
Oonopidae
Unknown Species
Araneae
Oonopidae
Unknown
Araneae
Oonopidae
Unknown
Araneae
Oxyopidae
Peucetia viridans
Araneae
Phoicidae
Modisimus culicinus
Araneae
Phoicidae
Modisimus sp.
Araneae
Pisaridae
Dolomedes triton
Araneae
Pisaridae
Unknown
Araneae
Salticidae
Heltzia palmarum
Araneae
Salticidae
Lyssomanes viridis
Araneae
Scytodidae
Scytodes fusca
Araneae
Tetragnathidae
Alcimosphenus licinus
Araneae
Tetragnathidae
Leucauge argyra
Araneae
Tetragnathidae
Leucauge venusta
Araneae
Tetragnathidae
Tetragnatha sp.
Araneae
Tetragnathidae
Tetragnatha sp.
Araneae
Tetragnathidae
Tetragnatha sp.
Araneae
Theridiidae
Theridula gonygaster
Araneae
Thomisidae
Mecaphesa sp.
Araneae
Thomisidae
Mecaphesa sp.
Araneae
Thomisidae
Mecaphesa sp.
Araneae
Thomisidae
Unknown
Araneae
Uloboridae
Uloborus glomosus
Araneae
Unknown
Unknown
Araneae
Unknown
Unknown
Mesostigmata
Phytoseiidae
Unknown
Mesostigmata
Phytoseiidae
Unknown
Mesostigmata
Zercondae
Unknown
Mesostigmata
Zercondae
Unknown
Mesostigmata
Zercondae
Possibly Parazercon sp.
Mesostigmata
Unknown
Unknown
Mesostigmata
Unknown
Unknown
Mesostigmata
Unknown
Unknown
Mesostigmata (Possibly)
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Brachychthoniidae
Brachychthonius sp.
Oribatida
Carabodidae
Unknown
Oribatida
Galumnidae
Unknown
Oribatida
Galumnidae
Unknown
Oribatida
Lohmaniidae
Unknown
Oribatida
Neoliodidae
Neoliodes floridensis ?
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Euphthiracaridae
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Oribatida
Unknown
Unknown
Pseudoscorpiones
Unknown
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Arrenuridae
Arrenurus sp.
Trombidiformes
Bdellidae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Bdellidae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Bdellidae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Bdellidae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Bdellidae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Cunaxidae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Eriophyidae
Aculops toxicophagus
Trombidiformes
Eriophyidae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Erythracaridae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Erythracaridae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Erythracaridae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Erythracaridae
Unknown
Trombidiformes
Erythraeidae
Leptus sp.
Trombidiformes
Erythraeidae
Unknown

 

 

Order Araneae .. Family Anyphaenidae

Unknown Species ... Ghost Spider

On February 27, 2017, this 4 mm long spider was living in detritus that had accumulated in a Tillandsia setacea (Southern Needleleaf) plant growing in an oak in the northern section of the Smith Preserve, north of Smith Preserve Way.

These photographs were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On March 2, 2017, the spider was identified by John and Jane Balaban as "Maybe something in Anyphaenidae?"

According to <BugGuide.net>, there are 37 species in 6 genera in Family Anyphaenidae. The size range 3.0 to 8.5 mm.

As quoted from page 22 of Florida's Fabulous Spiders 2001 by Sam Marshall and G. G. Edwards, "Ghost spiders are similar in appearance to sac spiders, and used to be placed in the same family. They differ in that they have two rows of club-shaped hairs on the bottoms of their feet, and their tracheal spiracle is located well in front of the spinnerets, unlike most spiders which have their tracheal opening right in front of the spinnerets."

On March 5, 2017, the species was identified by Laura P., a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>. According to <BugGuide.net>, the species is less than 5 mm in body length, excluding the chelicerae. "It is the only anyphaenid that has such porrect chelicerae (they extend forward). This is a very obvious characteristic in the males."

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Acaesia hamata ... No Common Name

Acacesia is a genus of orb-weaving spiders. Species in this genus have a dagger shape on the back that is outlined with black and surrounded by a triangular leaf-like shape. Orangish-brown dots are in parallel rows on both sides of the dagger. The body length of females is 4.3 to 8 mm, males is 3.6 to 6.5 mm.

Acaesia hamata is found from Argentina to the United States. The individual in the first two photographs was on Ceratiola ericoides (Florida Rosemary) on March 6, 2012.

The individual in the third photograph was on Crotolaria pallida var. obovata (Smooth Rattlebox) on March 6, 2012.

On April 23, 2014, the Acaesia hamata spider at left was found inside a curled leaf of Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak). The spider was about 5 mm long. Look closely, and you will see a round egg inside the leaf near the bottom of the photograph. On November 24, 2014, the identification of this spider was confirmed by Laura P., Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Araneus calusa ... No Common Name

On April 11, 2014, this spider had a web stretched across a narrow path in a hammock area in the Smith Preserve. When the web was disturbed, the spider scurried along a silk thread to a leaf.

On that same day, the species was identified from these photographs by John and Jane Balaban, Contributing Editors of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

Note the distinctive shape of this spider's abdomen and the reddish colored dots on the pointed tips on the abdomen. These are characteristics that helped the Balabans distinguish this species from others.

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Cyclosa sp. ... Trashline Orbweaver

 

Cyclosa is a genus of 165 species of small orb-weaving spiders. A characteristic that all members in the genus have is that they decorate their webs with prey remains.

The spider attaches a linear arrangement of prey remains and other debris with silk threads to the middle of its web.

The decoration serves as a camouflage for the spider. As shown in these magnified views, the spider is quite difficult to see on the debris since its coloration is mottled and blends with the color of the debris.

When first discovered, the outer silk strands of the web were looped between leaflets of a saw palmetto frond and the line of debris was seen in the middle of the web. The spider was not seen. When the silk was touched, the spider scurried to the top of the debris strand.

 

Later, when the spider seemed to disappear again and the web was touched, it scurried along a bottom strand of silk and turned with its ventral side toward the camera, as shown in the photograph at left.

The identification of this spider is credited to Evan Dankowicz, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department, on November 17, 2014.

Below, another trashline orbweaver's decorated web was photographed hanging from the south side of the Smith Preserve Way wooded bridge.

On August 5, 2016, the spider's identification was confirmed as Cyclosa by Chad Heins, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>. Heins pointed out that the spider is at the bottom of the vertical cluster of remnants of previous meals on the horizontal strand of silk. Below, the spider is indicated by the yellow arrow.

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Cyrtophora citricola ...Tropical Tent-Web Spider

This spider, known to occur in warmer areas of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Costa Rica, Hispaniola, and Colombia, was discovered to be living in Miami-Dade County, Florida in 2000.

The tropical tent-web spider does not build an orb. Instead, it constructs a horizontal web that forms a cone in the middle and has many supporting lines of silk. Cells of the web are rectangular as can be seen in the second photograph.

Although this behavior has not been observed at the Preserve, these spiders are known to form colonial aggregations. Benefits from this behavior include sharing frame threads, improving defense against predators and parasites, improving prey capture efficiency, and producing more eggs.

Color varies within the species, but in Florida, they are typically brown. These spiders can change the background color of the abdomen from pale to very dark brown. Florida males are often black.

The specimen in these photographs is a female. As shown in the first photograph, females often resemble pieces of dead leaves and sometimes hide in debris that has fallen into the web. Females reach 10 mm in length, while males are only 3 mm long. Adult males do not build webs, do not eat, and die after mating.

As shown in the first photograph, a distinguishing characteristic of this species is the two-pointed end of the abdomen.

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Eriophora ravilla ...Tropical Orb Weaver Spider

Eriophora ravilla is a native spider regularly encountered in nursery inspections. Its bite is not known to cause serious problems to humans. A female, like the one in the first photograph, has a mostly reddish-brown cephalothorax and legs with a darker femora (upper joint). The spider's carapace and legs are covered in white setae (hairs or bristles). Males are usually smaller than females and are usually dark gray with banded legs.

Tropical orb weavers live in open woodlands. The one in the first photograph was spotted in the Smith Preserve on a saw palmetto along a path that separated a pine flatwoods from a tropical hammock. The silk bridge that supported the web was four meters long and stretched across the path. The spider was located by tracing the silk thread to the saw palmetto. The spider had tucked herself into debris that had fallen into the palmetto leaf. Normally, tropical orb weavers are active at night. The web is constructed after dark and the orb is taken down before dawn. The web catches moths and other nocturnal insects.

On December 23, 2013, the individual in the next two photographs was hanging from a huge web about 3 meters above the ground. The web was extending from tree tops above the Smith Preserve Pond. On March 9, 2015, this spider was identified as Eriophora ravilla from from these photos by Laura P., Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Eustala sp. ... Hump-Backed Orbweaver

During the day, members of the genus Eustala sit on twigs, resembling buds. At night, they make moderate-sized orb webs in wooded areas and sit at the hub of the webs, waiting for prey. Before dawn, they take down their webs.

The individual in these photographs was spotted at 10:30 AM resting on Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss), that was hanging from an oak tree on December 26, 2012. The spider was identified from these photographs on December 21, 2013 by John and Jane Balaban, Contributing Editors of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

Eustala sp. females range from 3.5 to 12 mm long, while males range from 2.5 - 7 mm. This individual was determined to be 6 mm long. In order to determine its sex, reproductive structures would need to be examined.

 

 

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Eustala sp. ?... Hump-Backed Orbweaver

On January 26, 2016, this 1.25 mm spider was captured in a sweep net collection obtained in Ceratiola ericoides (Florida Rosemary), growing in the northwest quadrant of the Smith Preserve.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 6. 2016, the spider was identified by Laura P., another Contributing Editor, as "Eustala?"

Laura P. stated, "I'm pretty sure ...
it's a juvenile Eustala ... looking at where the eyes are placed, the pattern on the abdomen ... in general though spiderlings are often impossible to ID with certainty. If it were alive you could raise it."

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Gasteracantha cancriformis ... Crab-Like Spinybacked Orbweaver

Female Gasteracantha cancriformis spiders have six stubby orange spines. The function of the spines is unknown. They may be protective because they discourage predation by birds trying to swallow them.

Male spiders are much smaller than females and their spines are reduced to 4 or 5 stubby projections.

Both of these photographs are of the same female. The first shows her waiting for prey to get caught in the web. The second shows her pouncing on a tangled victim.

Crab-like spinybacked orbweavers live in shrubby and wooded areas. They are common in citrus groves. This one was photographed suspended in its web in the hammock portion of the Smith Preserve.

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Gea heptagon ... Orb Weaver

On April 1, 2015, this 5 mm long spider had its web spread between vertical pieces of vegetation close to the ground in a sandy lichen-covered region of the scrub, adjacent to sand live oaks. The first and third photographs are dorsal views, the second image is a ventral view.

On April 3, 2015, the species was identified from these photographs by John Rosenfeld, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

The species name "heptagon,"is derived from the Greek word "heptagonos," which means "seven-sided shape,"

This orb weaver hangs head down in its web and can be identified by its 3 pairs of gray bumps on the back of its abdomen. The species has a large head, brown cephalothorax with yellow markings, and a brown and white abdomen. This individual has banded legs and a very distinctive brown marking on the dorsal side of its abdomen, as shown in the third photograph.

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Unknown Species ... Orbweaving Spiderling

Image one below shows a .75 mm long, white spiderling collected in leaf litter in the northeast oak hammock at the Smith Preserve on December 16, 2014. About 10 feet away, on the same day, another leaf litter sample produced the .75 mm long orange/yellow spider shown in the second photograph. Both spiders were obtained by using a Berlese funnel. Photographs were produced using photomicrosopy.

The first individual was identified on December 28, 2014, the second on December 31, 2014. Both identifications were made by Laura P., Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.Net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. Laura stated they look like orbweaving spiderlings. She did not think there was much hope for a specific ID.

Based on the size, eye colors and eye arrangement, and other similarities, it is believed by the webmaster of this Christopher B. Smith Preserve Field Guide that these two leaf litter spiders represent the same species.

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Order Araneae .. Family Araneidae

Unknown Species ... Orbweaving Spiderling

On January 26, 2016, this 1 mm long spider was caught in a sweep net, used to capture arthropods living in Ceratiola ericoides (Florida Rosemary). The rosemary was growing in the northwest quadrant of the Smith Preserve.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 13, 2016, the spider was identified as an Araneidae spiderling by Mandy Howe, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

Mandy stated, "Definitely looks like it belongs in Araneidae, but I think it's a spiderling, so not sure how accurate a more specific ID can be. It reminded me of something near Ocrepeira with that eye arrangement (posterior median eyes larger and spaced further apart than anterior median eyes) and the shape of the carapace, but then I realized some other genera look similar. And if it's a spiderling, I don't know how much it will change as it matures."

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Order Araneae .. Family Dictynidae

Lathys sp. ... Mesh-Weaver Spider

On January 5, 2015, this 1.4 mm long spider was living in pine needle litter under a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) tree in the Smith Preserve. It was extracted from the needles using a Berlese funnel. These photographs were produced using photomicroscopy.

In order to obtain the first photograph, the tiny spider was balanced on a thread in order to get a good image of its eyes. The number of eyes and arrangement of the eyes is a characteristic used in spider identification. The image below, using superimposed circles over the eyes, clearly shows the arrangement of this spider's 6 eyes.

On January 8, 2015, the spider was identified from some of these photographs as probably Lathys albida or Lathys immaculata by Lynette, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. She noted that both species have an unmarked carapace, a whitish abdomen, and 6 eyes.

Family Dictynidae is a family of cribellate spiders. The cribellum is a silk-spinning organ consisting of one or more plates covered in thousands of tiny spigots that produce extremely fine fibers of silk. Most Dictynids build irregular webs of tangled silken fibers close to or directly on the ground.

This particular spider is a male. Photograph one below shows its ventral surface. The large swollen bulb-like structures at the top of the photograph are specialized palps used by the male to place sperm into the female's genital opening. (Palps are jointed structures attached to the spider's face.) The second photograph below shows a close-up of one of these palps. The intricate structure of the male palps can be used in species identification.

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Order Araneae .. Family Dictynidae

Unknown Species ... Mesh-Weaver Spider

This very tiny spider constructed a complex web above the surface of a smilax leaf. As shown in the second photograph, the tension of the silk strands appear to have pulled the edges of the leaf together. At the center of each triangle of webbing, there is a clump of silk. Perhaps this is an egg sac or silk that is wound around captured prey.

On the surface of the leaf, there is a layer of fine webbing. The spider was sitting on top of this fine webbing when these photographs were taken on December 12, 2012.

This individual was recognized from these photographs as a member of Family Dictynidae (Mesh Weaver Spiders) by Laura P., Contributing Editor of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department on December 16, 2013.

Dictynidae is a family of hackled band-producing spiders. Hackled bands are a type of silk spun from a cribellum. A cribellum consists of one or more plates covered in thousands of tiny spigots. Because the spigots are so small, the spider is able to produce extremely fine fibers of silk. The spider uses a row of specialized bristles on its leg to comb the silk into fine bands. A cribellum is different from a spinneret, which many spider families have. The silk from spinnerets is much more coarse.

Most Dictynidae spiders build irregular webs close to or directly on the ground. Typically they create a tangle of silken fibers among several branches or stems of a plant. This family has 563 species in 48 genera.

The individual in these photographs has many white hairs covering the abdomen. There are also several longitudinal rows of white hairs on the cephalothorax. The cephalothorax is brownish-yellow, while the abdomen appears to be dark brown with six large yellowish-orange spots.

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Order Araneae ..Family Dictynidae

Unknown Species ... Mesh-Weaver Spider

On November 24, 2015, this 1.25 mm long spider was caught in a pit trap placed in the middle of the Smith Preserve in a scrub area covered with Cladina confusa (Reindeer Moss Lichens). These photographs (Image 1: Dorsal View; Image 2: Ventral View) were submitted for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On December 8, 2015, the spider was identified as a Dictynid by Chad Heins, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>. Heins said, "I think I see a calamistrum (dense row of hairs) on the rear legs.

The image below was created after the December 8th family identification by Chad Heins. The calamistrum are easily seen on the metatarsus. They are not as evident on the tarsus because the photograph is not well-focused, but a trichobothrium can be seen on the tarsus. Trichobothria are elongate seta (hairs) that function in the detection of airborne vibrations. The presence of a trichobothrium on the tarsus of a Dictynid means this spider is likely a member of genus Lathys. This genus identification is yet to be confirmed.

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Order Araneae ..Family Dictynidae

Unknown Species ... Mesh-Weaver Spider

Like the Dictynid above, this mesh-weaver spider is very small. It was photographed at 12:00 noon on December 4, 2013, and identified on December 22, 2013 from these photographs as a member of Family Dictynidae by Lynette Schimming, Contributing Editor of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

As shown, this spider constructed an irregular web made of a tangle of silken fibers around several needles of Ceratiola ericoides (Florida Rosemary). She has also constructed an egg sac attached to the webbing.

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Order Araneae ..Family Dictynidae

Unknown Species ... Mesh-Weaver Spider

On January 26, 2016, this 1.75 mm spider was captured in a sweep net collection obtained in Ceratiola ericoides (Florida Rosemary) that was growing in the northwest quadrant of the Smith Preserve.

The dorsal and ventral photographs above were created using photomicroscopy and submitted for identification to <BugGuide.net>.

On February 13, 2016, the spider was identified by Mandy Howe, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. Mandy explained her determination was "Based on color/pattern and visible cribellum on underside of abdomen near spinnerets. It's immature though, and dictynids are a group that needs to be adult and identified by genitalia. Someday we might know where these red and yellow ones belong."

According to <BugGuide.net> there are approximately 290 species in 20 genera of Dictynids.

An enlargement of the eye arrangement of this spider is shown at right.

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Order Araneae ..Family Gnaphosidae

Litopyllus cubanas ... Ground Spider

On January 3, 2017, two specimens of this spider species were living in leaf litter under a Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) bush and a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) tree in the northeast quadrant of the Smith Preserve, north of the Smith Preserve Bridge.

The spiders were two of the many invertebrates separated from the litter with a Berlese funnel. Photographic images were created using photomicroscopy, and images were sent for identification to the experts at <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. The first specimen is shown in the first four images. It was ~4 mm long.

The second spider, one that was 5 mm long, is shown in the next four images.

On March 27, 2017, the species was tentatively identified by Laura P., a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. She stated, "I decided to place these because they appears remarkably similar to Litopyllus temporarius both above and below, the size fits, the location fits and what I can see of the epigynum fits. Still a best guess because the epigynum isn't very clear/dissected."

According to Wikipedia, members of the family have "barrel-shaped anterior spinnerets that are one spinneret diameter apart." They also have "an indentation in the endites (paired mouthparts anterior and lateral to the labium, or lip." "They hunt at night and spend the day in a silken retreat."

According to <BugGuide.net, Litopyllus cubanas is known to be in the USA, Bahama Islands, and Cuba.

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Order Araneae ..Family Linyphiidae

Agyneta sp.? ... Sheetweaver

On March 3, 2016, this 2 mm long spider was caught in a pitfall trap that had been placed overnight in sand beneath a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) tree, southeast of the Smith Preserve pond.

These photographs were created using photomicrography and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On May 6, 2016, Chad Heins, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net> identified the spider as "Maybe one of the Agyneta."

Note the very large pedipalps on this male. Looking somewhat like boxing gloves, the pedipalps are used by the male to transfer sperm to the female's epigyne during mating.

There are 69 species in genus Agyneta in BugGuide's range (North America north of Mexico.)

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Order Araneae .. Family Linyphiidae

Agyneta sp.? ... Sheetweaver

On March 22, 2016, this 1.5 mm long male spider was collected in a sample of leaf litter obtained beneath a Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) growing in the central part of the Smith Preserve, north of Smith Preserve Way. The first image shows the dorsal side of the spider and the second image is its ventral side.

These five photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On December 20, 2016, Chad Heins, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net> identified the spider as "Maybe one of the Agyneta."

Like the spider above, this specimen is a male with very large pedipalps. The third through fifth photographs show three views of the pedipalps. The first is a dorso-frontal view, the second is a lateral view, and the third is a ventral view. The first image also shows its eyes are set up on mounds or turrets. The third image shows its jaws.

Members of Family Linyphiidae are small spiders. There are more than 601 genera and 4,300 described species worldwide, making it the second largest family of spiders after the Salticidae. They are called sheet weavers because of the shape of the webs.

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Order Araneae ..Family Linyphiidae

Florinda coccinea ... Blacktailed Red Sheetweaver

This dwarf native species is common in the southeastern United States, where it inhabits grasslands, lawns, and agricultural fields. Florinda coccinea is bright red with a black tubercle at its posterior end. The body length is just 3 to 4 mm in adults; females are slightly larger than males.

The web is constructed of horizontal sheets of non-sticky silk with tangled threads above. Insects fly into these treads and fall into the sheet below where the spider is waiting.

This photograph was taken early in the day with dew still on the web.

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Linyphiidae

Unknown Species ... Sheet Weaver Spider

On November 24, 2015, this 1.5 mm long spider was captured in a pitfall trap placed near the center of the Smith Preserve in a sandy scrub area that was covered by Cladina confusa (Reindeer Moss Lichens). These photographs, created using photomicroscopy, were sent to <BugGuide.net> for species identification.

On December 14, 2015, Pierre-Marc Brousseau, Contributor to <BugGuide.net> identified the family. The large palps on this individual indicate that it is a male.

The Family Linyphiidae consists of very small spiders. It is the second largest spider family, second only to Salticidae (The jumping spider family). More than 4,300 species in Family Linyphiidae have been described worldwide. The common name for the family, "sheet weavers," originates from the shape of the webs.

Members of the family have 8 eyes and 3 tarsal claws. Eyes are arranged in 2 rows of 4. Eyes are often ringed with black. Legs are slender with spines.

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Linyphiidae

Unknown Species ... Sheet Weaver Spider

On March 4, 2015, this ~2mm long spider was living in leaf litter beneath a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) tree in the center of the Smith Preserve.

It was isolated from the leaf litter with a Berlese funnel, and photographs were created by photomicroscopy. These four images were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. Image 1 is a dorsal view; image 2 is a ventral message; image 3 is a ventral close-up of this male's pedipalps; Image 4 is a close-up of the eyes.

On April 26, 2017, the specimen was identified as possibly a member of Family Linyphiidae by Chad Heins, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>. He stated, "This one looks Linyphiid to me."

According to Wikipedia, there are more than 4,300 described species in 601 genera in this family worldwide, and new species are still being discovered. The family is poorly known.

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Miturgidae

Cheiracanthium inclusum ... Black-Footed Yellow Sac Spider

Cheiracanthium inclusum is a fairly small, pale yellow species, indigenous to the Americas. Females are 5 to 9 mm; males are 4 to 8 mm. Males have a skinnier body and a larger leg span than females.

The body of both sexes is pale yellow-beige with dark markings on the palps, chelicerae (jaws) and ends of the tarsi (feet). There is also often an orange-brown stripe running down the top center of the abdomen. Front legs on both sexes are longer than other pairs of legs. They have 8 eyes of similar size in 2 parallel horizontal rows.

The spider is nocturnal and relies more on its palps as sensory structures than its eyes. These spiders feed and mate at night. They move between different bushes and trees by excreting long silk threads that are used as scaffolding, or by ballooning through the air on silk.

They do not make webs. Instead, they are active predators that feed on insects and spiders. As shown in the photograph, during the day, they are in small silk nests. They build a new nest every day in less than 10 minutes. This individual was found in a nest inside a curled willow leaf.

The black-footed yellow sac spider lives in the foliage of forests and gardens but also can inhabit human homes.

It's bite is considered medically significant. The venom is cytotoxic, which results in localized tissue death. The bite is moderately painful and is followed by itching.

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Order Araneae .. Family Oonopidae

Unknown Species ... Goblin Spider

This 1.5 mm spider was living in leaf litter in an oak hammock in the northeast corner of the Smith Preserve. On December 17, 2014, a leaf litter sample was obtained. Using a Berlese funnel, the spider was isolated from the litter. The photograph was obtained using photomicroscopy.

On January 1, 2015, its identity to Family Oonipidae was made from this photograph by Laura P., Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. She stated it is a nice find and may be genus Opopaea. Laura will try to get an expert opinion. If it is this genus, she will add the genus name and this photograph to the <BugGuide.net> guide, as this will be a new genus for the guide.

On February 19, 2015, Lynette, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.Net> confirmed the family name, but she couldn't narrow down the genus.

There are over 2000 species of goblin spiders worldwide. Oonopids are generally tiny (1 to 3 mm), found in leaf litter or under rocks, and usually have 6 eyes. Genus Opopaea is usually a reddish-brown color with its six eyes arranged with four posterior in a straight row and two in an anterior row.

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Order Araneae .. Family Oonopidae

Unknown Species ... Goblin Spider

On January 5, 2015, this 1.5 mm long spider was living in pine needle litter under a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) tree in the Smith Preserve. Using a Berlese funnel, it was extracted from the same sample of needles that contained another 6-eyed spider, Lathys, a member of Family Dyctinidae, shown earlier in this website. These photographs were produced using photomicroscopy.

Note, this spider resembles Lathys. These two spiders are similar in size and general appearance. But there is a different arrangement of hairs on the body and a different arrangement of the 6 eyes. The image below, using superimposed circles over the eyes, clearly shows the arrangement of this spider's 6 eyes.

On January 11, 2015, Laura P., Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology, thought Dictynidae was the likely family. However on June 3, 2016, after seeing this website, Jordi Moya-Laraño (Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas - CSIC,Carretera de Sacramento s/n,La Cañada de San Urbano, 04120-Almería, Spain) identified this specimen as an Oonopid.

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Oonopidae

Unknown Species ... Goblin Spider

On December 19, 2014, this 1.25 mm, 6-eyed spider was living in leaf litter under a citrus tree in part of the abandoned citrus grove that has evolved into a cabbage palm / oak hammock in the northeast corner of the Smith Preserve. Using a Berlese funnel, it was extracted from the needles. These photographs were produced using photomicroscopy.

Note the similarity of this spider to the specimen immediately above and to Lathys, a member of Family Dyctinidae, shown earlier in this website. Also note that its 6 eyes are in a different arrangement from the others. Like the others, the image below, using superimposed circles over the eyes, clearly shows the arrangement of this spider's 6 eyes.

Like the specimen shown above, on January 11, 2015, Laura P., Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology, thought Dictynidae was the likely family. However on June 3, 2016, after seeing this website, Jordi Moya-Laraño (Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas - CSIC,Carretera de Sacramento s/n,La Cañada de San Urbano, 04120-Almería, Spain) identified this specimen as an Oonopid.

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Oxyopidae

Peucetia viridans ... Green Lynx Spider

Peucetia viridans is bright-green and usually found on green plants. The species name, viridans, is Latin for "becoming green".

The dorsal surfaces of the cephalothorax and abdomen have raised brown markings. The legs are green to yellow, with long black spines and black spots.

This individual was well-camouflaged on a leaf of Stachytarpheta cayennensis (Needleleaf Velvetberry / Porterweed).

Peucetia viridans lives in the southern United States, and in some parts of Northern California, Central America, the West Indies, and Venezuela. This species is the largest North American species in the family Oxyopidae. Females may be 22 mm long, while males are more slender and average 12 mm.

A female constructs egg sacs of bright orange eggs. She guards her eggs by hanging upside down from the sacs and squirting venom from her chelicerae (mouthparts) at anything that comes near. The range of a squirt is about 300 mm. Below, this female was photographed on December 3, 2015 as she clung to her sac of eggs.



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Order Araneae .. Family Pholcidae

Modisimus culicinus ... Cellar Spider

On November 24, 2015, this 1.5 mm long spider was captured in a pitfall trap placed beside Cladina confusa (Reindeer Moss) in the central scrub area of the Smith Preserve.

Images of the dorsal surface (image 1), ventral surface (image 2), lateral view (image 3), and close-up of eyes (image 4) were created using photomicrosopy.

The photographic images were sent for species identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On December 2, 2015, this individual was identified as a species belonging to genus Modisimus by Laura P., a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

According to B. A. Huber, March 2011 in his online uploaded publication "Pholcidae: Modisimus," "the genus Modisimus is largely restricted to Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean." According to a map in his document, there have been specimens reported from southeast Florida. "Most species are small (1 to 3 mm in body length)." They have dome-shaped webs built among vegetation or close to the ground.

According to the 1998 Journal of Arachnology 26: 19-60, "The genus is weakly defined by the presence of a prominent eye turret, an elevation of the prosoma that carries the eyes." As seen in the photograph at right, this particular spider has 6 eyes. Each eye appears on its own turret.

A spider very much like the one shown and described above was found on January 13, 2017. That day as the Conservancy science volunteer team was removing exotics along the southern gopher tortoise fence adjacent to 14th Ave N, a mass of nesting material was retrieved from some vines. The nesting material consisted of Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) fibers. The fibers were collected in a gallon bag and placed in a Berlese funnel to isolate invertebrates from the fibers.

The ~2 mm long spider below was one of the many invertebrates that had been living in the material. Photographs were created and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>. Images include: 1 dorsal view, 2 frontal view, 3 ventral view, 4 lateral view, and 5 lateral view of pedipalp.

On February 3, 2017, the species was identified by Laura P. as probably Modisimus culicinus. [Note: It has not been confirmed that the first specimen above is the same species, but it has been confirmed that it is in the same genus. Both are males.]

 

As shown at left, pedipalps (aka. palps) are the second pair of appendages near the mouth in spiders. Each pedipalp is composed of six segments and functions as a taste and smell organ. In mature males, pedipalps are used to place sperm into the epigynum of the female. Structural details of pedipalps are used in identifying species.

 

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Pholcidae

Modisimus sp. ... Cellar Spider

On January 13, 2017, this 1.5 mm, female spider was living in the same nesting material made of Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) fibers as the spider described above.

Like the one above, it was separated from the fibers with a Berlese funnel. Photographs were created using photomicrography and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>. Images 1 and 2 are dorsal view and 3 and 4 are ventral views.

The fourth image shows a close-up of the spinnerets used to spin the web and the epigynum. The epigynum is the external structure on a female spider into which the male transfers his sperm with his pedipalps.

On February 6, 2017, this specimen was identified as genus Modisimus by Laura P., a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

According to "Pholcidae: Modisimus" by B.A. Huber, March 2011, most Modisimus species are small (1-3 mm) and make dome-shaped webs. The webs are built among vegetation or close to the ground. Different species create webs at different levels above the ground. Those living near vegetation are usually difficult to see because they are green. Like the one shown here, those living in leaf litter are usually brown.

According to Huber the actual number of species in the genus is ~150.

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Order Araneae .. Family Pisaridae

Dolomedes triton ... Six-Spotted Fishing Spider

The genus name, Dolomedes, means “wily” or “contriving” in Greek; the species name, triton, is the Greek mythological fish-tailed sea god.

The individual shown here is a juvenile, caught in the pond at the Christopher B. Smith Preserve with a dipnet on November 19, 2013. The species was identified from these photographs by "wolfpacksved", Contributor to <bugguide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Entomology Department on December 16, 2013.

These spiders have a total of eight eyes that appear from the front as two horizontal rows of four; each row is slightly recurved.

The body length of adults range from 13 to 20 mm for females and 8 to 11 mm for males. The abdomen is brown or tan with white sides and pairs of white spots down the center. The cephalothorax is dark brown with a white or yellow stripe along each side. The legs are sprawling and dark brown, but may have white hairs and/or dark marks. The ventral portion of the cephalothorax has 6 black spots. This feature gives the species its common name, "six-spotted fishing spider."

Dolomedes triton is nocturnal, feeding when the birds that prey on them are inactive. The spiders' main predators are snakes, birds, and parasitic wasps. An Egretta caerulea (Little Blue Heron) was photographed eating a six-spotted fishing spider for lunch in the Preserve pond.

Six-spotted fishing spiders hunt by waiting along the water's edge, holding their front legs on the water surface, and feeling for ripples from prey. Once they sense the ripples, they run across the surface to grab the prey with front legs, tipped with small claws. Next, they inject venom with their hollow jaws. In the Christopher B. Smith pond, their diet consists of insects, mostly water striders (Microvelia sp., Neogerris hesione), and small fish.

Small hairs that cover the spider's body allows it to use surface tension to stand or run on the water's surface. They can also dive into the water without getting wet.

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Order Araneae .. Family Pisaridae

Unknown Species ... Nursery Web Spider

November, 2012, this 2.75 mm spider was in a sweep net sample collected in vines growing over a shrub. On December 25, 2014, It was identified by Laura P., Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Mother Nursery Web spiders carry their egg sacs in their jaws and pedipalps. When eggs are about to hatch, the mother builds a nursery "tent", puts her egg sac inside, and stands guard outside the tent.

The individual shown in this photograph is a juvenile that recently hatched from its egg. Even at this small size, Family Pisauridae spiders can be recognized by their eyes, which are all about the same size.

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Order Araneae .. Family Salticidae

Heltzia palmarum ... Hentz Jumper

A Heltzia palmarum male is dark brown with white stripes along the edges of its body, legs and jaw. The front pair of legs are much longer than the others and they are darker, as shown in this photograph.

Females have more hair, are pale in color, and often have triangular markings that point forward along the center of her abdomen.

The spider's range is the southern and eastern US.

Rather than capture its prey in a web like many other spiders do, Heltzia palmarum jumps on its prey.

This photo was taken after the spider jumped onto a piece of white paper laid on the ground in the preserve.

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Order Araneae .. Family Salticidae

Lyssomanes viridis ...Magnolia Green Jumper

No less than 80 species of Lyssomanes live in South and Central America and in the southern United States.

All members of the genus have long-legs and translucent bodies. Many are green or yellow. As can be seen in this photograph, these spiders resemble lynx spiders, but they have large median eyes.

The magnolia green jumper female is 7 to 8mm long, while the male is 5 to 6mm long. Both have pale translucent green legs and bodies. They have very distinctive red and white scales on top of the head around their eyes, and males have long jaws. The spider in this photograph is a female.

Magnolia green jumper spiders are normally found in wooded habitats on large leaves and in low bushes. This individual was on the leaf of a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) on April 23, 2014.

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Order Araneae .. Family Scytodidae

Scytodes fusca ...Spitting Spider

This species was identified from these photographs on April 23, 2014 by Laura P., Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

Habitat of this species includes caves and man-made structures like sheds and bridges. This particular specimen was found on April 21, 2014 inside the tightly curled remains of a dead bromeliad.

Normally, a Scytodes fusca stands high on its stilt-like legs. Adult females are 6 mm long; males are 5 mm long. The carapace slopes upwards near the end closest to the abdomen; the abdomen slopes downward. Its 6 eyes are arranged as three pairs.

Unlike most spiders, this species does not produce a silk web to trap prey, instead it spits a liquid material composed of venom and spider silk from the venom glands in its chelicerae (mouthparts). It can spit to a distance of 10 to 20 mm.

The material congeals on contact into a sticky mass that traps the prey. Next, the spider bites the prey, injecting more venom. Finally, it wraps the prey in silk, produced by its spinnerets.

Prey includes silverfish and other small arthropods.

On January 3, 2017, the 6-eyed, 3.75 mm long spider below was living in leaf litter beneath a Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto Bush) and a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) tree in the center of the Preserve, just north of Smith Preserve Way.

Arthropods were separated from the leaf litter with a Berlese funnel.

Images (1: Dorsal; 2: Ventral; 3: Frontal; 4: Lateral) of this individual were created using photomicroscopy and sent for confirmation of the family to <BugGuide.net>.

On March 16, 2017, the family was confirmed and the genus was identified by Laura P., a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

On April 9, 2017, the species was identified by Bob Biaqi, another Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>. He stated, "This is a sub-adult. = Immature. Some of your other images are most likely this species. Your examples are great and they show some very young stages of development. Some images will be added to the info page [on <BugGuide.net>], thanks!"

On January 3, 2017, the 6-eyed, 2.5 mm long spider below was living in leaf litter in the same sample of leaf litter as the specimen above.

Photographs (Image 1: Dorsal; Image 2: Ventral; Images 3 & 4: Frontal) were created using photomicroscopy and sent for confirmation of the family's identification by the webmaster to <BugGuide.net>.

On March 16, 2017, the family was confirmed and the genus was identified by Laura P.. On April 9, 2017, the species was identified by Bob Biaqi as yet another immature Scytodes fusca.

Note the similarities and differences of this specimen to the one above.

On November 17, 2015, the 1.75 mm spider shown at right was caught in a pit trap placed under a Quercus laurifolia (Laurel Oak) just north of Smith Preserve Way.

Photographs were created and submitted for identification to <BugGuide.net>.

On November 29, Laura P., identified the genus. On April 9, 2017, the species was identified as the same as above by Bob Biaqi.

Note the similarities and differences with this spider and the one above. They both have 6 eyes, are similar in size, and have beige bodies with brown markings. However, the markings are distinctly different.

 

On March 4, 2015, the 1.5 mm long, 6-eyed spider at right was living in leaf litter beneath a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) tree in the scrub area at the center of the Smith Preserve.

This beautiful spider with brown pattern on the cephalothorax and abdomen and additional markings on its palps was identified to its genus by Laura P. on March 13, 2015. On April 9, 2017, it too was identified by Bob Biaqi as an immature Scytodes fusca.

By using superimposed circles over the eyes, the 2nd image below, clearly shows the arrangement of this spider's 6 eyes.

There are 7 species of Scytodes in the US and Canada. The common name of the genus, "spitting spider," originates from its method of capturing prey as described earlier.

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Order Araneae .. Family Tetragnathidae

Alcimosphenus licinus ... Orange-Red Orbweaver

On June 18, 2015, this 10 mm long spider was photographed hanging from its web in the Smith Preserve.

As seen in these photographs, the spider is a beautiful orange/red color with black legs. It has an extended narrow, black tipped abdomen

These photographs were submitted for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 19, 2016, the genus was identified by "joot", a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>. "joot" stated, "New genus for the guide. It goes under Tetragnathidae... see the nice eyelash trichobothria on the hind femur. They're abundant in the Caribbean islands, but I don't believe they're previously known in Florida."

Trichobothria are elongate setae ("hairs") that function in the detection of airborne vibrations.

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Order Araneae .. Family Tetragnathidae

Leucauge argyra ...Orchard Orbweaver

Leucauge argyra is found in wooded areas from the United States to Brazil.

Its web is oriented in a horizontal or slanted position, and raised in the center. The spider sits in the middle of the web with its ventral surface facing upwards, as shown in these photographs.

This species looks a lot like another orchard orbweaver that is also found in the Preserve, Leucauge venusta (described below). Differences in the color of the abdomen help distinguish one from the other.

Leucauge argyra has black lines and white bands on the dorsal portion of the abdomen. The ventral side has two parallel yellow lines ending in spots. A quick way to recognize this species is to look at the tip of the abdomen. It is black with yellow and gold spots.

Leucauge argyra is often parasitized by an ichneumonid wasp, Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga.

 

Shown in this photograph are the spinnerets this female has used to spin her web.

On January 26, 2016, the 6.5 mm spider shown below was caught in a sweep net used in low vegetation growing beneath Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) in the southeast quadrant of the Smith Preserve.

Photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. On January 28, 2015, it was identified as Leucauge argyra by John and Jane Balaban, Contributing Editors to <BugGuide.net>.

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Order Araneae .. Family Tetragnathidae

Leucauge venusta ...Orchard Orbweaver

Leucauge venusta's range is southern Canada to Panama, where it prefers a wooded habitat and builds its web in low shrubs or small trees close to the ground.

This spider spins its web at an angle and hangs from the center, waiting for small insects to be trapped in the web.

Its cephalothorax is yellowish-green with brown stripes along the sides. The abdomen has black lines, green and yellow bands, and several large red spots.

 

 


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Order Araneae .. Family Tetragnathidae

Tetragnatha sp. ... Longjawed Orbweaver

 

The genus Tetragnatha contains hundreds of species. Most occur in the tropics and subtropics. Fifteen species are found in the United States and Canada.

The common name of the genus describes the elongated chelicerae (two-segmented jaws). Male Tetragnatha spp. have very large chelicerae which project forward in a horizontal position.

As shown in the first photograph, a longjawed orbweaver has an elongated body and stretches its front legs forward when disturbed. For that reason, another of its common names is the "stretch" spider.

This genus is commonly found on vegetation growing near water. The one shown here was on a willow leaf on a tree on the berm that separates the two portions of the Smith Preserve filter marsh. In addition to providing a resting spot for this spider, the willow leaf is covered in galls.

See below for another spider in the same genus. It appears to be a different species, based on its different shape and markings.

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Order Araneae .. Family Tetragnathidae

Tetragnatha sp. ... Longjawed Orbweaver

This spider and its egg case were photographed on March 6, 2012 on an oak tree in the scrub. The spider was stretched out on the bottom of the branch. Extending from its hind leg to the egg case, was a strand of silk. As can be seen in these photographs, like the Tetragnatha sp. shown above, its front legs are much longer than its other legs.

On December 16, 2013, this individual was identified as Tetragnatha sp. by Marci Hess, a Contributor to <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department.

Note the differences between this individual and the one above. This one has a white band on the side of its abdomen that is bordered on one side by a brown band.

The species name Tetragnatha is derived from the Greek word "tetra" which means "four" and "gnathos" which means jaw.

Tetragnatha spp. spiders spin circular (orb) webs, mostly in the horizontal plane. These are often just inches above the surface of water, where they can capture emerging aquatic insects like midges, mosquitoes, mayflies, and stoneflies.

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Order Araneae .. Family Tetragnathidae

Tetragnatha sp. ... Longjawed Orbweaver

On January 26, 2016, the 4 mm long spider shown here was caught in a sweep net sample collected in low dry vegetation growing along the Smith Preserve's eastern gopher tortoise fence.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 29, 2016, John and Jane Balaban, Contributing Editors to <BugGuide.net> identified the genus.

Jaws of Tetragnatha spp., as shown in the photograph at left, move side to side in a scissor-like fashion. As shown below, all members of the genus have 8 widely-spaced eyes.

As shown in the photographs above, the abdomen is elongate and oval. Tetragnatha spp. are brown, yellow, and silver.

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Theridiidae

Theridula gonygaster ... Cobweb Spider

On January 28, 2015, this 2 mm spider was spotted on the bottom of a tall frond of Acrostichum danaeifolium (Leather Fern). It was photographed (Image 1) and then removed and placed into alcohol for photomicroscopy (Images 2-4).

On January 28, 2015, it was identified as possibly Theridula gonygaster by Lisa B., a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology, On February 19, 2015, the identification was confirmed by John Rosenfeld, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. He stated: "Seems to fit
the description and epigynum diagram for Theridula regia in Gertsch and Archer, 1942 pretty well. WSC [World Spider Catalog] lists T. regia as a synonym for T. gonygaster. Type location was Dade County."

Theridula is a genus of spiders found in many parts of the world, but mostly in the tropics. Size range is 1 to 3.5 mm. In females, the abdomen is wider than long with a hump or horn on each side and sometimes a posterior median horn. Theridula spp. are reported to be frequently found on tall vegetation where they rest on the bottom of leaves. There are 19 species in the genus.

Below, these images show ventral views of the spider

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Order Araneae .. Family Thomisidae

Mecaphesa sp. ... Crab Spider

On December 23, 2013, this spider was spotted as it was eating a fly on the leaf of a plant near the filter marsh at the Smith Preserve. On December 10, 2014, it was identified from the first photograph by Lynette, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

As can be seen in the first two photographs, the spider is grasping the fly tightly with its 1st pair of legs. What cannot be seen is the spider is paralyzing the fly by injecting venom with its fangs into the fly's head. Under the fly is the carcass of an ant that the spider likely paralyzed.

There are 18 North American species in genus Mecaphesa. Like this specimen, members of the genus are often hairy.

The genus can be recognized by the structural arrangement of the eyes. As shown at left, there are only 6 eyes visible when the spider is viewed from the front. The anterior lateral eyes are larger than the other eyes. Look closely at these large anterior eyes. They are on tubercles. On the back of these tubercles are the posterior lateral eyes facing to the side and back, making them difficult to see when the spider is viewed from the front.

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Order Araneae .. Family Thomisidae

Mecaphesa sp. ... Crab Spider

On December 30, 2015, this 1 mm spider was caught in a sweep net sample obtained in a tangled Vitis rotundifolia (Muscadine Grape) vine growing in the sandy scrub just north of Smith Preserve Way.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

Below is a close-up of the head of this very tiny spider.

On January 10, 2016, Laura P., a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, identified the spider as a Mecaphesa spiderling.

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Order Araneae .. Family Thomisidae

Mecaphesa sp. ... Crab Spider

On January 28, 2016, this 2.5 mm long crab spider was captured in a sweep net sample taken in Ceratiola ericoides (Florida Rosemary) in the northwest corner of the Smith Preserve.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. On August 22, 2016, the genus was confirmed by John and Jane Balaban, Contributors to <BugGuide.net>.

As stated earlier above, the genus can be recognized by the structural arrangement of the eyes. As shown below, there are only 6 eyes visible when the spider is viewed from the front. The anterior lateral eyes are larger than the other eyes. Look closely at these large anterior eyes. They are on tubercles. On the back of these tubercles are the posterior lateral eyes facing to the side and back, making them difficult to see when the spider is viewed from the front.

 

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Order Araneae .. Family Thomisidae

Flower Crab Spiders

There are over 2,000 species in Family Thomisidae world-wide. In this family, the first two pairs of legs are much longer than the last two pairs.

All flower crab spiders are small and move sideways like crabs.

They do not spin webs to capture food, instead they use camouflage to ambush prey and hide from predators. A flower crab spider captures insects by grabbing them with powerful front legs and then paralyzing them with a venomous bite. Note the way flower crab spiders orient their legs. While laying in wait on the stems and blossoms of flowers, the six individuals shown here were all in position to capture food. Crab spiders are a major predator of small butterflies.

It is not known whether or not the individuals in these photographs are the same species. Although the colors vary among these individuals, color is not a good characteristic to use to identify some flower crab species since some species have the ability to change their color to blend into their environment.

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Order Araneae .. Family Uloboridae

Uloborus glomosus ... Feather-Legged Spider

Uloborus glomosus is one of the 72 described species in the Family Uloboridae. Most members of this family live in the tropics and subtropics. Only four genera and 15 species live in the United States and Canada.

Members of the family are known as hackled-band orbweavers. They create webs in the form or orbs or portions of orbs, with the spiral portion of the web constructed of an unusual type of silk thread called a "hackled band." Members of the genus Uloborus create their orb webs with a horizontal orientation.

The common name of this spider, "feather-legged spider," describes the long tuft of hairs on the first set of legs.

The chelicerae (mouthparts) of this spider are large, but like all Uloboridae, there are no venom glands. Uloborus glomosus has eight small eyes.

The individual shown in these photographs was captured in a sweep net in the Christopher B. Smith Preserve on March 16, 2012. As shown in the third photograph, its cephalothorax and abdomen length measurement totalled less than 5 mm. Its identification to species was determined from these photographs by Laura P., Contributing Editor of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department on December 16, 2013.

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Order Araneae .. Family Unknown

Unknown Species ... Spider

On March 4, 2015, this1 mm long, 6-eyed spider was living in leaf litter beneath a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) tree in the scrub area at the middle of the Smith Preserve. It was isolated from the litter by using a Berlese Funnel. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy.

On March 13, 2015, Laura P., Contributing Editor of <bugguide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Entomology Department, identified the Order from these photographs. The family, genus, and species are yet to be determined.

By using superimposed circles over the eyes, the 2nd image below, clearly shows the arrangement of this spider's 6 eyes.

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Order Araneae .. Family Unknown

Unknown Species ... Spider

On December 19, 2014, this 1.5 mm long, 8-eyed spider was living in leaf litter under a citrus tree in the hammock in the northeast corner of the Smith Preserve.

The spider was removed from the litter by using a Berlese Funnel. These photographs were produced using photomicrography.

Image 1 is a dorsal view, Image 2, a ventral view, and Image 3, a frontal view. In Image 3, Photoshop was used to better see the number and position of the eyes. By creating a separate layer for each eye and using the ellipse tool, an ellipse of appropriate size and shape was positioned over each eye. Layer opacity was set at ~40% so eyes can be seen through the ellipses.

Although these photographs have been submitted for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology, the species has not been identified.

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Order Mesostigmata .. Family Phytoseiidae

Unknown Species ... Predatory Mite

This very colorful .5 mm long mite was living in leaf litter, collected under a citrus tree on December 19, 2014 in a hammock in the northeast corner of the Smith Preserve.

It was extracted from the sample with a Berlese funnel. These images of the dorsal, ventral, and lateral surfaces of the mite were made using photomicroscopy.

On January 31, 2015, the mite was identified from these photographs by Heather Proctor, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. She stated it is "a predatory mite of Family Phytoseiidae (Mesostigmata), a group best known as biocontrol agents of spider mites. It's a bit odd that it was found on the ground, but perhaps it fell out of the citrus tree."

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Order Mesostigmata .. Family Phytoseiidae

Unknown Species ...Predatory Mite

On February 11, 2015, this .5 mm mite was crawling on a leaf of Smilax bona-nox (Saw Greenbrier). It was removed, placed in alcohol, and photographed using photomicroscopy.

On February 21, 2015, it was identified from this photograph by Heather Proctor, Contributor to <Bugguide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. Dr. Proctor stated "Hard to tell from this image, but it does belong to Mesostigmata, and based on the two large terminal setae, is probably a member of the Phytoseiidae."

Order Mesostigmata are mites that are predatory. They can be identified by their single pair of spiracles positioned laterally on their bodies. All are very small, ranging from .12 mm to 4 mm. Some are parasitic on mammals, birds, reptiles, and bees. Some are predatory soil mites. Most are free-living. Some feed on pollen and nectar; some on fungi.

Family Phytoseiidae feed on thrips and other mite species and are often used as a biological control for managing mite pests.

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Order Mesostigmata .. Family Zerconidae

Unknown Species ... Zerconid Mite

On January 23, 2017, this .5 mm long mite was living in leaf litter collected beneath a Psychotria nervosa (Shinyleaf Wild Coffee) bush and a Quercus laurifolia (Laurel Oak tree). It was isolated from the leaf litter with a Berlese funnel, and these images were created by photomicroscopy.

These four images (1 & 2: Dorsal; 3 & 4 Ventral) were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. On April 8, 2017, the specimen was identified by Heather Proctor, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>. Heather stated, "Zerconidae .. It's a teneral zerconid (Mesostigmata)."

By definition, "teneral" is the state immediately after moulting. The insect's exoskeleton has not hardened and it is pale in color. Members of the family are typically brown, yellow or pinkish. Their shape is oval to subrectangular.

There are over 350 species in 35 genera in Family Zerconidae. They are usually found living in moss, leaf litter, organic detritus, and soil on the floor of forests. They are predators; their diet consists of nematodes and smaller microarthropods.

 

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Order Mesostigmata .. Family Zerconidae

Unknown Species ... Zerconid Mite

On December 29, 2014, this .5 mm long mite was living in pine needle litter beneath a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) tree in the middle of the Smith Preserve.

It was isolated from the pine litter using a Berlese Funnel, and these dorsal and ventral photographs were produced using photomicroscopy.

On February 21, 2015, the mite was identified by Heather Proctor, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Members of the family are typically brown, yellow or pinkish and oval to subrectangular mites.

Family Zerconidae is currently represented by over 350 species in 35 genera. They are usually found living among moss, leaf litter, organic detritus, and soil on the floor of forests, where their diet consists of nematodes and smaller microarthropods.

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Order Mesostigmata .. Family Zerconidae

Possibly Parazercon sp. ... Zerconid Mite

On January 13, 2017 as the Conservancy science volunteer team was removing exotics along the southern tortoise fence adjacent to 14th Ave N, a mass of nesting material was retrieved from some vines. The nesting material consisted of Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) fibers. The fibers were collected in a gallon bag and placed in a Berlese funnel to isolate invertebrates from the fibers.

This .5 mm long mite was one of the many invertebrates that had been living in the nesting material. A series of images were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 4, 2017, the family was identified by Heather Proctor, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>. She explained, "My student Matt Meehan thinks it looks most like the genus Parazercon, but he isn't familiar with Floridian zerconids so this is just a guess."

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Order Mesostigmata .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Predatory Mite

On December 9, 2015. this 1 mm long, pale, white mite was collected in pine needles in the southeastern corner of the Smith Preserve below a Pinus elliottii densa Southern Florida Slash Pine tree.

It was removed from the needle litter using a Berlese funnel. This photograph was created using photomicroscopy and the second image was sent for identification to <BugGuide.net, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

On January 2, 2016, its order was identified by Heather Proctor, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>. She said that a more focused image of the venter will be necessary to identify the family. The venter is the lower or under side of a mite; opposed to the dorsum.

As explained earlier on this page, Order Mesostigmata are mites that are predatory. They can be identified by their single pair of spiracles positioned laterally on their bodies. All are very small, ranging from .12 mm to 4 mm. Some are parasitic on mammals, birds, reptiles, and bees. Some are predatory soil mites. Most are free-living. Some feed on pollen and nectar; some on fungi.

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Order Mesostigmata .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Predatory Mite

On March 22, 2016, this .4 mm long mite was living in leaf litter beneath a Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto), growing in the middle section of the Smith Preserve, north of Smith Preserve Way.

The mite was isolated from the litter with a Berlese funnel. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

The first image is a dorsal view and the second is a ventral view. Note the body is white and the legs are somewhat darker with stripes.

On December 9, 2016, the order was identified by Ray Fisher, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

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Order Mesostigmata .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Predatory Mite

On December 13, 2017, this .5 mm long mite was captured in a pitfall trap that had been left overnight in sand and dried grass with other traps near the southern edge of the Smith Preserve near 14th Ave North and a private residence.

These photographs (Image 1: Dorsal, Image 2: Ventral, Image 3 Lateral) were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 2, 2017, the order was identified by Ray Fisher, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

According to <BugGuide.net>, in this order there are ~11,500 species, 900 genera, and ~110 families.

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Order Mesostigmata (Possibly) .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Predatory Mite (Possibly)

On December 9, 2015, this .75 mm long mite was living in pine needle litter beneath a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine), growing in the southeastern quadrant of the Smith Preserve.

The litter was collected and placed in a Berlese funnel to separate the invertebrates from the needles.

These photographs (Image 1: Dorsal; Image 2: Ventral; Image 3 Lateral) were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

By comparing the mouth structures of this individual to other mites, the webmaster thinks this is a member of Order Mesostigmata, but the order needs to be confirmed by an expert.

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Order Oribatida .. Family Brachychthoniidae

Brachychthonis sp. ... Beetle Mite

On January 23, 2017, this .3 mm long mite was living in leaf litter beneath a Psychotria nervosa (Shinyleaf Wild Coffee) bush and a Quercus laurifolia (Laurel Oak) tree south of the Smith Preserve Pond near the eastern gopher tortoise fence.

The mite was isolated from the leaf litter using a Berlese funnel and photographs were created using photomicroscopy. These four images were sent for identification to <BugGuide.Net>, sponsored by Iowa State University’s Department of Entomology. On April 18, 2017, the genus was identified by Dave Walter, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Acarology.

Members of the genus have two transverse sutures and three shields. Note the sculptured design details of this specimen and its long setae (bristles).

In Dr. Walter’s book, Mites: Ecology, Evolution & Behaviour: Life at a Microscale, he describes the genus as having modified mouthparts and unknown feeding habits.

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Order Oribatida .. Family Carabodidae

Unknown Species ... Unknown Common Name

On January 3, 2017, this .9 mm long mite was living in leaf litter beneath a Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) bush and a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) tree in the northeast quadrant of the Smith Preserve, just north of Smith Preserve Way.

The mite was extracted from the litter, using a Berlese funnel. Photographs were created using photomicroscopy.

Images were submitted for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On March 26, 2017, Heather Proctor, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net> stated, "According to Dave Walter, this distinctive oribatid belongs to the family Carabodidae. Dave also suggests that Valerie Behan-Pelletier might be able to identify it more finely."

The webmaster has contacted Valerie for additional identification help.

According to an online article, "Biogeography of Carabodidae (Acari: Oribatida) in North America by R. Marcel Reeves, Applied Soil Ecology, Vol 9, Issues 1-3, 1 September 1998, Pages 59 - 62, in North America, Family Carabodidae is represented by 54 described and undescribed species in nine genera.

Carabodid mites resemble beetles. According to the online site, Encyclopedia of Life, members of this family "have the most strongly chitinized body among the Oribatida with a highly varied sculpture by which they are distinguished."

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Order Oribatida .. Family Galumnidae

Unknown Species ... Galumnid Mite

On December 29, 2014, this .5 mm mite was found living in pine litter collected under a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) tree. It was isolated from the litter with a Berlese Funnel; these photographs were created using photomicroscopy.

This mite appears to have moveable flaps that look almost like a gliding mechanism. The first photograph is a dorsal view. The second is a ventral view. Both of these photographs were submitted to <BugGuide.net> for identification.

On March 27, 2015, the mite family was identified by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net), sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Family Galumnidae is one of the largest groups of oribatid mites; the family is distributed worldwide. Members of this family are fairly abundant in litter and dark loamy soil under trees. An oribatid mite consumes about 20% of its body weight in leaf litter every day and the tiny droppings add humus to soil.

The dark, hard shell of this galumnid mite protects it from predators and drought. The winglike projections, described as glider-like above, are called pteromorphs ("ptero" = wing; "morph" = form). The pteromorphs do not function like wings. Instead the mite tucks its legs under these projections for protection when threatened.

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Order Oribatida .. Family Galumnidae

Unknown Species ... Galumnid Mite

On December 13, 2017, this .75 mm long mite was captured in a pitfall trap that had been left overnight in sand and dried grass near the southern edge of the Smith Preserve near 14th Ave North and a private residence.

Upon close examination, this female mite was observed to have been laying an egg when it was placed in alcohol.

The webmaster thought the mite resembled the Galumnid mite shown earlier above. Images were created of this new mite by photomicroscopy and sent for identification confirmation to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On February 2, 2017, the family was confirmed by Ray Fisher, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

Female mites typically lay their eggs in the substrate where they leave them to hatch. Eggs hatch to release free-living larvae with only 3 pairs of legs. After the first molt, a larva gains a fourth pair of legs and molts several more times before becoming a mature adult.

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Order Oribatida .. Family Lohmaniidae

Unknown Species ... Unknown Common Name

On December 29, 2014, this 1 mm mite was collected from pine litter beneath Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine).

It was isolated from the pine litter using a Berlese Funnel and these photographs were produced using photomicroscopy.

On February 15, 2015, the mite was identified from these photographs by Dr. Heather Proctor, Professor of Biological Sciences University of Alberta and Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. Identification was confirmed by Dr. Dave Walter, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta and Editor-in-chief, International Journal of Acarology.

As of 2004, Family Lohmaniidae was composed of 21 genera and 179 species. Most live in the tropics and subtropics, where they consume decomposing leaves and woody substrates (within which they consume the material by burrowing and tunneling).

Adults are elliptical to ovate in shape with a convex dorsal surface (Image 1) and a flat ventral surface (Image 2).

Males are unknown. Females reproduce by parthenogenesis.

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Order Oribatida .. Family Neoliodidae

Neoliodes floridensis ? ... Neoliodid Mite

This 1 mm mite was living in leaf litter in an oak hammock in the northeast corner of the Smith Preserve. On December 17, 2014, the mite was removed from the leaf litter using a Berlese funnel. These images were produced using photomicroscopy.

On January 3, 2015, the following was reported by Heather Proctor, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

"Hi Susan:

Thanks for providing good dorsal and ventral views. I sent your photos to Dave Walter, an oribatid expert. Here's what he says: "The image is definitely a Neoliodidae (Liodidae was preoccupied by beetles). In Canada it would be a Platyliodes, but in Florida it may be Neoliodes floridensis Banks."

So we can be sure of the family, but not of the genus. Yours appear to be the first confirmed images of this family for Bugguide, though there is also this unplaced oribatid that looks awfully similar: http://bugguide.net/node/view/104715

Cheers,
Heather"

This Smith Preserve leaf litter specimen resulted in a new family (Neoliodidae) and a new superfamily (Neoliodoidea) being added to the <BugGuide.net> guide. There are 4 genera in Family Neoliodidae. Neoliodes is the largest genus with 39 species. Neoliodes floridensis was first described as a species by Nathan Banks in 1906.

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

On December 29, 2014, this .75 mm mite was living in pine litter collected under a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) in the Smith Preserve.

It was isolated from the litter with a Berlese Funnel, and these photographs were created using photomicroscopy.

On March 12, 2015, the photographs were analyzed by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. He determined that this was a specimen of an Oribatid mite.

Image 1 below is a dorsal view of this mite; image 2 is a ventral view.

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Order Oribatida .. Family Euphthiracaridae

Unknown Species ... Ptychoid Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

On December 29, 2014, this .5 mm mite was living in pine needles beneath a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) tree. It was isolated from the needles using a Berlese Funnel; these photographs were created using photomicroscopy.

On March 28, 2015, the Superfamily of this mite was identified as Euphthiracaroidea by Heather Proctor, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. Dr. Proctor (University of Alberta) stated: "Based on this mite being ptychoid (capable of 'jack-knifing') and having long narrow genital/anal plates, it belongs to the Euphthiracaroidea. The resolution of the genital/anal plates is too coarse for me to tell what family, though."

Image 1 and image 4 are lateral views of this ptychoid moss mite. Image 2 is a dorsal ventral view and image 3 is a ventral view.

On April 1, 2015, another individual was photographed by the webmaster. This one was collected on the same day as the first, in a different litter sample under the same tree. The photograph was posted on <BugGuide.net>. It is Image 5 below.

From this photograph, Dr. Proctor was able to identify the family as Euphthiracaridae. She said "The dark interlocking triangle in the middle of the genito-anal plates" was what she needed to see.

Ptychoid mites have ptychoidy, a mechanical defense system in which the body can fold in half, protecting legs and other body parts. It results in the mite having a seed-like appearance. In order to fold and retract its legs, there are special adaptations involving the exoskeleton, muscles, and body fluid pressure. The process of 'jack-knifing' takes between .5 and 1 second.

There are three families in the Superfamily Euphthiracaroidea: Euphthiracaridae, Oribotritiidae, and Synichotritiidae.

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Ptychoid Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

On December 29, 2014, this .75 mm mite was living in Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) litter in the central-western section of the Smith Preserve. It was isolated from the litter using a Berlese funnel.

The webmaster suspected this was a ptychoid moss mite (Family Euphthiracaridae), based on its resemblance to the mite shown immediately above. Photographs shown here and created by photomicrography were sent for verification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

The family name has never been verified by <BugGuide.net>, but it has been verified that it belongs to the same Superfamily ... Euphthiracaroidea.

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

On December 17, 2014, this .5 mm was collected with other tiny arthropods in leaf litter in an oak hammock. Using a Berlese funnel, the arthropods were extracted from the litter. Using photomicroscopy, these photographs were produced.

On December 28, 2014, the mite's order, Oribatida, was identified from these photographs by Pierre-Marc Brousseau, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Members of the order range in size from 0.2 to 1.4 mm. These mites develop slowly, but they live a relatively long time, from several months to two years. Adults feed on living and dead plant material, fungus, lichens, and carrion. Some are predatory; none are parasitic. Some are hosts to tapeworms; all break down organic matter in soil.

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

This .5 mm mite was collected on December 17, 2014 in leaf litter in the northeast hammock of the Smith Preserve. It was removed from the leaf litter using a Berlese funnel.

The photograph was created using photomicroscopy,

On January 15, 2015, this mite was recognized from this photograph as a member of Order Oribatida by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

As with other Oribatids, adults feed on living and dead plant material, fungus, lichens, and carrion. Some are predatory; none are parasitic. Some are hosts to tapeworms; all break down organic matter in soil.

 

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

This 1 mm mite was collected on December 19, 2014 in leaf litter under a citrus tree in the northeast hammock of the Smith Preserve. It was removed from the litter using a Berlese funnel. This brown mite was living in litter only about 10 meters from the white, very similar looking, but smaller mite, shown above.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy. The first image is a lateral view, the second is a ventral view.

The mite was recognized from these photographs as a member of Order Oribatida by Ray Fisher on January 15, 2015. Ray is a Contributing Editor with <BugGuide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

An online site (Almanac of Alberta Oribatida 2.3, 13 January 2013, p. 47-48) states that some Oribatids have different color morphs. One such mite is Rhysotritia ardua aka Hoplophora ardua, Acrotritia americanus, Euphthiracarus americanum, and Acrotritia sinensis. There are white, light brown, and dark brown morphs of this species. Photographs of the online morphs look very similar to these photographs taken in the Smith Preserve.

Rhysotritia ardua is described as a box mite. The Almanac of Alberta Oribatida states, "Box mites are so called because they can withdraw their legs into their body and close the front part over the rear, like a box being folded shut. This large (0.700-0.840 mm long), brownish box mite has a Holarctic distribution. Only female mites are known and the mite apparently reproduces parthenogenetically."

Based on this reference, more research is needed to see if the white mite above and this brown mite are two morphs of this or a similar species.

As stated earlier, Oribatid adults feed on living and dead plant material, fungus, lichens, and carrion. Some are predatory; none are parasitic. Some are hosts to tapeworms; all break down organic matter in soil.

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

This Oribatid mite resembles the two mites above in its seed-like appearance. It may be the same species as one of those, but that has not been determined, and there are ~10,000 described species of orbatid mites. They live mainly in soil and they are important decomposers in forest ecosystems.

This particular mite is .5 mm long and was living in leaf litter beneath a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) when it was captured on December 29, 2014. It was removed from the litter with a Berlese funnel.

When examined under a microscope, the mite (identified by this webmaster as belonging to Order Oribatida) was found to have a very long (.5 mm), white tube-like "thing" emerging from its abdomen. Thought to possibly be a parasite, these photographs were made using photomicrography and the next four images were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On 10 November 2016, Ray Fisher, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, confirmed that it is an Oribatid mite, but he stated, "Hi Susan, that "parasite" is actually the extended ovipositor of this mite. Nice find."

One wonders why a .5mm long mite would have a ~ .5 mm long ovipositor. Where does it lay its eggs?

In doing online research, the webmaster learned that during oviposition, the genital plate of the mite opens and the ovipositor is extended out, probably by hemolymph pressure. (Hemolymph is a liquid equivalent to blood in arthropods and most invertebrates.)

As shown in these close-up images, the tip of the ovipositor has setae (hairs) on three lobes. Researches think that muscles on the pleated (corrugated) walls are responsible for oviposition (laying the eggs). Note, the pleated appearance of the ovipositor in these photographs.

Female oribatid mites use their long ovipositors to lay eggs in crevices in bark and other cavities. After eggs are laid, the ovipositor is retracted by muscles attached to its wall. Once retracted, the ovipositor fits into a folded position inside the body.

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

This .6 mm mite was collected on December 19, 2014 from a leaf litter sample collected under a citrus tree in the northeast hammock of the Smith Preserve. It was in the same litter sample as the mite shown above. It was extracted from the sample using a Berlese funnel. By using photomicroscopy, these photographs were produced.

On January 15, 2015, this mite was identified from these photographs as a member of Order Oribatida by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, hosted by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

As stated earlier, adult Oribatids feed on living and dead plant material, fungus, lichens, and carrion. Some are predatory; none are parasitic. Some are hosts to tapeworms; all break down organic matter in soil.

At left is a ventral view of this particular individual.

 

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

This .75 mm mite was collected on December 17, 2014 in leaf litter in the northeast hammock of the Smith Preserve.

Isolated from the leaf litter using a Berlese funnel, photographs were prepared using photomicroscopy. The first photograph shows the dorsal view; the second shows the ventral view.

On January 15, 2015, the mite was recognized from these photographs as a member of Order Oribatida by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Like the other Oribatids described above, the adult of this species feeds on living and dead plant material, fungus, lichens, and carrion. Some species of Oribatids are predatory; none are parasitic. Some are hosts to tapeworms; all break down organic matter in soil.

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

On December 29, 2014, this .5 mm long mite was living in pine needle litter beneath a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Slash Pine) tree in the middle of the Smith Preserve. It was removed from the litter with a Berlese funnel.

It floated in the alcohol and was photographed using photomicroscopy. Image 1 is a dorsal view, image 2, a ventral view, and image 3, a lateral view. Note: the dorsal surface of the mite is depressed with an edge ridge.

On March 12, 2015, the mite was identified from these photographs as an oribatid mite by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

On November 15, 2016, this .4 mm long mite was living in leaf litter beneath a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) that had been severely trimmed in the northwest quadrant of the Smith Preserve, just south of Smith Preserve Way.

The mite was separated from the leaf litter with a Berlese funnel, and these photographs were created using photomicroscopy. Note the intricate pattern of the dorsal surface (1st image) as well as the posterior edge of the abdomen (2nd image).

The photographs were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. On December 9, 2016, the order was identified by Ray Fisher, a Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>.

The third and fourth images show a piece of armor above and between the eyes. The armor appears to be a triangular, nose-like extension of the rostrum with horns on each side. The function of this structure is unknown, but it may be defensive.

 

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

On December 13, 2016, this ~.4 mm long mite was captured in a pitfall trap left overnight. The trap was placed in sand and leaf litter adjacent to Chromolaena odorata (Jack-In-The-Bush), growing in the southern portion of the Smith Preserve near 14th Ave N and a private residence.

As shown in the first image above (a dorsal view), the mite has 8 oval, stalked structures attached to its posterior. These appear to be evenly spaced. As shown in the second image above (a frontal view), the head of the mite somewhat resembles the shape of a rat.

These photographs (including the ventral view at right and lateral view below) were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>.

On February 2, 2017, the order was identified by Ray Fisher, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. Ray described the oval, stalked structures attached to its posterior as "setae ("hairs"), indeed, part of the mite."

 

According to <BugGuide.net> Order Orbatida is "one of the most numerically dominant arthropod groups in the organic horizons of most soils, where their densities can reach several hundred thousand individuals per square meter."

 

 

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

On February 27, 2017, this .6 mm long mite was living in detritus that had accumulated in a Tillandsia setacea (Southern Needleleaf) bromeliad that was growing on an oak branch in the northern section of the Smith Preserve, north of Smith Preserve Way.

These images were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. Note: Although the first and second images are both dorsal views, the areas in focus in each is different. The third image is a ventral view and the fourth, a lateral view.

The webmaster has identified the order of this mite by its strong sclerotized exoskeleton, but the order is yet to be confirmed by an expert at <BugGuide.net>.

According to <BugGuide.net>, in Order Oribatida there are ~1200 species in 300 genera in over 100 families in our area and ~16,500 described species in ~2,400 genera in ~250 families worldwide.

 

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

These ~.5 mm mites were collected on December 19, 2014 in leaf litter under a citrus tree in the northeast hammock of the Smith Preserve.

They were isolated from the litter by using a Berlese funnel. Photographs were produced using photomicroscopy. Image 1 shows four mites, some in dorsal view and others in lateral view. Image 2 shows the ventral view of the largest of these four individuals.

On January 15, 2015, the mites were recognized from this photograph as members of Order Oribatida by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Like the other Oribatids described above, adults of this species feed on living and dead plant material, fungus, lichens, and carrion. Some species in Order Oribatida are predatory; none are parasitic. Some are hosts to tapeworms; all break down organic matter in soil.

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Order Oribatida .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Moss Mite / Beetle Mite

On April 15, 2015, this .5mm long mite was living inside the petal of a Vigna luteola (hairy cowpea) along with a beetle larva and a thrips. This image was created using photomicroscopy.

On May 2, 2015, the mite was identified from this photograph as a nymph of an oribatid by Heather Proctor, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

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Order Pseudoscorpiones .. Unknown Family

Unknown Species ... Pseudoscorpion / False Scorpion

On January 3, 2017, this .9 mm long pseudoscorpion was collected in a sample of leaf litter under a Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto) bush that was growing beneath a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) in the center of the Preserve, just north of Smith Preserve Way. .

It was isolated from the litter with a Berlese funnel, and these photographs were created using photomicroscopy.

These images (1: Dorsal; 2: Ventral; 3 & 4: Lateral, and 5: Dorsal) were sent for family and species identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. To date, there has been no identification.

According to <BugGuide.net> there are ~3,530 species in 450 genera in 26 families worldwide and ~420 species in 110 genera in 20 families in the United States.

The size of these arachnids is usually less than 3 mm. They are flat, have pincer-like pedipalps, and lack a stinging “tail” like true scorpions.

Habitat includes living under bark and stones, in leaf litter, caves, bird nests, and human homes.

Individuals can run backwards with ease, and often hitchhike onto beetles to disperse.

Most have poison glands in their pincers that can subdue small insects. (They cannot harm humans because they are too small.)

They feed on mites that live on beetles and other large insects, lice that live in bird's nests, clothes moth and carpet beetle larvae, booklice, ants, and small flies.

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Arrenuridae

Arrenurus sp. ... Water Mite

On December 30, 2015, this 25.5 mm long dragonfly was captured in a sweep net sample collected in short, dry brush growing inside the Smith Preserve along the eastern fence, just South of Smith Preserve Way. On close examination, there were eight .3mm long mites attached to the damselfly's ventral surface.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On January 16, 2016, the mites were identified by Heather Proctor, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, as larval water mites belonging to Family Arrenuridae.

Both the dorsal and ventral surfaces of Arrenurid mites are armored.

The larval stage is parasitic on dragonflies and mosquitoes. Although the larvae are parasites of aerial insects, they must return to water for the free-living phase of their life cycle. The larvae engorge themselves on their host, but must detach from the host while over water, the habitat suitable for survival of the adults and for reproductive success. The stimulus to detach from the host is unknown, but the response to the stimulus must be rapid. Perhaps water is one stimulus. During courtship and oviposition, dragonflies make contact with the water's surface.

There are more than 950 described species of Arrenurids.

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Bdellidae

Unknown Species ... Predatory Snout Mite

 

This 1 mm long mite was captured with a sweep net along the southwest edge of the seasonal marsh in the Smith Preserve. The dry marsh is populated with a variety of grasses and sedges.

On December 20, 2014, the mite was identified from this photograph by Heather Proctor, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

Most predatory snout mites are hunters of small insects and other mites.

 

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Bdellidae

Unknown Species ... Predatory Snout Mite

On December 8, 2014, this 1.1 mm long mite was captured with a sweep net in the dry seasonal marsh at the Christopher B. Smith Preserve.

Upon capture, the specimen was placed in alcohol with other arthropods caught in the sweep net sample. Later the specimen was allowed to dry for these photographs. The photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

The first photograph is a dorsal view, the second is a ventral view.

On February 13, 2016, the specimen was identified as a "dried-up" bdellid (snout mite) by Heather Proctor, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>.

Predatory snout mites are predators of small arthropods including other mites and collembolans. As can be seen in these photographs, these mites have a prolonged rostrum.

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Bdellidae

Unknown Species ... Predatory Snout Mite

On February 10, 2016, this .9 mm long, black mite was living in leaf litter in an oak hammock in the northwest quadrant of the Smith Preserve, north of Smith Preserve Way.

The mite was removed from the litter by using a Berlese funnel. These photographs (Image 1: Dorsal View; Image 2: Ventral View) were created using photomicrography, and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

This webmaster suspected that the family was Bdellidae because of the mite's very long snout. That was confirmed on March 6, 2016 by Heather Proctor, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>.

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Bdellidae

Unknown Species ... Predatory Snout Mite

On January 3, 2017, this .5 mm long, purple mite was living in leaf litter beneath a Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto Bush) and a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) tree in the center of the Preserve, just north of Smith Preserve Way.

The leaf litter was collected and placed in a Berlese funnel to separate the arthropods from the litter.

Images (#1: Lateral and #2: Dorsal) were created using photomicroscopy, and the images were sent to <BugGuide.net> to confirm the identification of the order. <BugGuide.net> is sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On March 18, 2017, the order was confirmed and the family was identified by Heather Proctor, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>.

In a quote from the online Encyclopedia of Life, "Bdellids are active, fast-running mites, predaceous on small arthropods and arthropod eggs."

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Bdellidae

Unknown Species ... Predatory Snout Mite

On March 3, 2016, this 1.6 mm long mite was caught in a pitfall trap placed in sand adjacent to a Myrica cerifera (Wax Myrtle) bush located at the northwest corner of the berm of the dry seasonal marsh in the Christopher B. Smith Preserve.

These photographs were created using photomicrography. The images above are dorsal views. Images were taken using dark and white backgrounds to show different details. Below are two lateral views and one ventral view.

The webmaster suspected the mite was a member of Family Bdellidae because of the shape of its snout, and these five photographs were sent for expert identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On June 6, 2016, the family identification was confirmed by Ray Fisher, a Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.

As was explained earlier in this website, predatory snout mites are predators of small arthropods including other mites and collembolans.

 

 

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Order Trombidiformes ..Family Cunaxidae

Unknown Species ... Predatory Mite

On January 23, 2017, this ~.7 mm long mite was living in leaf litter with hundreds of other mites beneath a Psychotria nervosa (Shinyleaf Wild Coffee) bush and a Quercus laurifolia (Laurel Oak) tree south of the pond in the Smith Preserve, not far from the eastern gopher tortoise fence.

The mite was separated from the litter using a Berlese funnel, and these photographs were created using photomicroscopy. The images were sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology.

On April 22, 2017, the family was identified by Heather Proctor, a contributor to <BugGuide.net>. Proctor stated, "Cunaxids are predatory prostigmatan mites typically placed close to the Bdellidae.

According to Wikipedia, "Prostigmata is a suborder of mites belonging to the order Trombidiformes, which contains the "sucking" members of the "true mites: (Acariformes)."

Cunaxidae are predatory mites common in forest systems, grasslands, agricultural fields and disturbed areas, where they live in soil and leaf litter and on vegetation.

They are thought to be opportunistic predators, feeding on collembolans, bark lice, thrips, scales, nematodes, and other mites. Some members of the family ambush their prey, while others actively hunt.

Cunaxids spin silk used for a variety of purposes, depending on the species. Some produce webbing around eggs laid on leaves. Some nymphs construct silken molting chambers. Some cunaxids use silk to capture prey.

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Order Trombidiformes ..Family Eriophyidae

Aculops toxicophagus ... Eriophid Mite

Aculops toxicophagus are extremely small mites (0.5 mm long), but they produce very distinctive red galls on poison ivy. The galls are puckered, irregular in shape and wart-like on the bottom and top surfaces of the poison ivy leaves.

The mites have elongate bodies and two pairs of legs. All eriophid mites are plant parasites. They penetrate plant cells and suck the contents. This causes a plant to deform its own tissue, creating a gall. The gall acts as a tissue barrier around the feeding mite. This keeps the mite from spreading to other cells and it provides the mite with a food supply.

Because of their small size, eriophid mites rely on wind, birds, and flying insect for dispersal.

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Order Trombidiformes ..Family Eriophyidae

Unknown ... Eriophid Mite

In some areas of the Smith Preserve, galls are on leaves of Ambrosia artemisifolia (Common Ragweed).

The photographs shown here were taken on January 2, 2013 (Images 1 and 3) and April 10, 2014 (Image 2).

The galls are likely caused by Eriophid mites. Family Eriophyidae includes more than 200 genera that live as plant parasites and are called gall mites.

Individual mites are tiny, microscopic, and yellow to pinkish white to purplish in color. The mites are worm-like with only two pairs of legs.

Aceria boycie, Ragweed Gall Mite, may be the species creating these galls, but this identification needs to be confirmed by an expert.

Below, a close-up of a leaf edge shows two galls, each created by the plant leaf in response to feeding and secretions by a mite.

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Erythracaridae

Unknown Species... Whirlygig Mites

Family Erythracaridae includes predatory mites found in a variety of habitats. This first individual (images 1 and 2) was collected in leaf litter in an oak hammock in the northeast corner of the Smith Preserve on December 17, 2014. Its size was less than .5mm. It was isolated from the leaf litter by using a Berlese funnel. The photographs were produced using photomicroscopy.

On December 27, 2014, the mite was identified from image 1 as a member of Order Trombidiformes, Suborder Prostigmata by Heather Proctor, Contributor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. Proctor stated that "judging by the long setae on the legs, it is probably a whirligig mite (Anystidae). It is more elongate than the usual Anystis spp., though, so it might belong to the subfamily Erythracarinae rather than Anystinae." On January 15, 2015, the Subfamily Erythracarinae was confirmed from image 1 by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>. [Note: Since this determination by Ray Fisher, Subfamily Erythracarinae of Family Anystidae has been renamed Family Erythracaridae.]

On December 17, 2014, the mite at right and below, .75 mm in length, was found in a sample of leaf litter about 10 feet from the first individual. It was identified from image 1 by Heather Proctor on January 3, 2015. Proctor stated, "definitely Anystidae with the bits of colour and good focus on leg setae, I'm confident that this is an anystid." On January 15, 2015, Subfamily Erythracarinae was determined from this photograph by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>.[Note: Since this determination by Ray Fisher, Subfamily Erythracarinae of Family Anystidae has been named Family Erythracaridae.]

On December 17, 2014, the .8 mm long mite shown below in dorsal and ventral view, was found in leaf litter in the same oak hammock as the other two. On January 15, 2015, it was identified from image 1 as a mite belonging to the same subfamily, Erthracarinae, by Ray Fisher. [Note: Since this determination by Ray Fisher, Subfamily Erythracarinae of Family Anystidae has been renamed Family Erythracaridae.]

On December 19, 2014, the .75 mm long mite shown below in dorsal and ventral view, was found in leaf litter under a citrus tree in the same hammock as those shown above. On July 15, 2015, it was identified from these images by Ray Fisher as a member of Subfamily Erthracarinae. [Note: Since this determination by Ray Fisher, Subfamily Erythracarinae of Family Anystidae has been renamed Family Erythracaridae.]

At this time, it is unknown whether these four mites are the same species. As described above, all have been identified as belonging to Family Erythracaridae. Close-up photographs of their palps will need to be analyzed by Fisher.

Species in this family are predaceous on other mites and small insects.

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Order Trombidiformes.. Family Erythracaridae

Unknown Species ... Whirlygig Mite

On April 2, 2015, this 1 mm long mite was caught in a pit trap placed in sand littered with ground lichens and Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) leaves, adjacent to several Quercus geminata trees in the scrub area of the Smith Preserve.

The photographs were produced using photomicroscopy.

As shown in the first photograph, the mite has very distinctive coloration on its dorsal surface, with a reddish cephalothorax, marked with 7 dark circles, an orange medial stripe near its posterior end, and a creme colored oval just anterior of the orange stripe. The eyes are red and the palps and legs are light orange.

As shown in the second photograph, the ventral surface is a uniform orange color with lighter colored palps and legs.

On April 18, 2015 the mite's order, family, and Subfamily Erythracarinae were identified from these photographs by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. [Note: Since this determination by Ray Fisher, Subfamily Erythracarinae of Family Anystidae has been renamed Family Erythracaridae.]

 

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Erythracaridae

Unknown Species ... Whirlygig Mite

On April 2, 2015, this 1 mm long mite was captured in a pit trap placed in a sand/ground lichens/oak leaf litter area of scrub adjacent to Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) trees in the middle of the Smith Preserve.

The cephalothorax is mottled with red and pink and the legs are orange.

On April 22, 2015, this species was identified as a member of Subfamily Erythracarinae, Family Anystidae, Order Trombidiformes from these photographs by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology. [Note: Since this determination by Ray Fisher, Subfamily Erythracarinae of Family Anystidae has been renamed Family Erythracaridae.]

The lateral view at right shows the ventral side is orange. Note the very long hind legs.

As is true for other members of Family Erythracaridae, the mite shown here is a predator of other mites and many small insects.

According to Ray Fisher, "This is a rarely collected anystid subfamily. They like open, hot areas... and (like anystines) are super fast, difficult to catch, and even more difficult to photograph." [Note: Since this statement by Ray Fisher, Subfamily Erythracarinae of Family Anystidae has been renamed Family Erythracaridae.]

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Erythracaridae

Unknown Species ... Whirlygig Mite

On April 2, 2015, this 1 mm long mite was captured in a pitfall trap placed in sand and leaf litter beneath a Quercus geminata (Sand Live Oak) in the center of the Smith Preserve south of Smith Preserve Way.

These photographs were created using photomicroscopy and sent for identification to <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University's Department of Entomology. The first photograph is a dorsal view and the second is a ventral view.

On December 26, 2016, the family was identified by Heather Proctor, a Contributor to <BugGuide.net>. [Note: At the time of the identification, Proctor determined that the mite was a member of Subfamily Erythracarinae. Since this determination, Subfamily Erythracarinae of Family Anystidae has been renamed into its own family... Erythracaridae.]

As is true of all whirlygig mites, this is a predator of other small arthropods. Note the bristles on its legs which aid in the capture its prey. Whirligigs get their common name because of their rapid, spiralling movement.

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Erythraeidae

Leptus sp. ... Long-Legged Velvet Mite

On November 6, 2013, this 1 mm long mite was found crawling over a piece of paper on a clipboard being carried through an oak scrub.

On March 16, 2015, it was identified by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

There are 33 genera in Family Erythraeidae. Adult members of the family are fairly large, oval mites, usually with a reddish color. Legs, especially the first and fourth pairs, are long and adapted for running. Species have either one or two pairs of eyes.

Larvae are parasites of terrestrial arthropods. They bite a hole into the cuticula of the host and use a straw-like organ to obtain body fluids and dissolved tissues from the host. Two species of Leptus are parasites of bees. Adults are free-living predators.

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Order Trombidiformes .. Family Erythraeidae

Unknown Species ... Long-Legged Velvet Mite

On March 18, 2015, this .8 mm long mite was on a flower of Helianthemum nashii (Nash's Rock Rose) in the western scrub of the Smith Preserve.

The specimen was photographed using photomicroscopy. Image 1 is a dorsal view, Image 2... a ventral view, and Image 3... a lateral view.

On March 21, 2015, the mite family was identified by Ray Fisher, Contributing Editor of <BugGuide.net>, sponsored by Iowa State University Department of Entomology.

There are 33 genera, grouped into 5 subfamilies in Family Erythraeidae. Larvae of this family are parasitic on other arthropods. They bite a hole in the cuticula of the host and suck fluids. Then, they drop off onto the ground. There, they go through several stages, eventually pupating and emerging as predaceous adults. At different life stages, they have 6 and 8 legs, and have different coloration and body size and shape. As adults, their first and fourth pairs of legs are long and adapted to running.

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© Photographs and text by Susan Leach Snyder (Conservancy of Southwest Florida Volunteer), unless otherwise credited above.

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