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Recent Noteworthy Distribution Records for Deinopis spinosa (Marx, 1889) (Araneae: Deinopidae) in the Southeastern United States
Dirk J. Stevenson, Grover Brown, Houston Chandler, Daniel D. Dye II, Christopher Garza, Marks McWhorter, Matt Moore, and Aimée Thomas

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 17, Issue 2 (2018): N28–N33

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2018 Southeastern Naturalist Notes Vol. 17, No. 2 N28 D.J. Stevenson, et al. Recent Noteworthy Distribution Records for Deinopis spinosa (Marx, 1889) (Araneae: Deinopidae) in the Southeastern United States Dirk J. Stevenson1,*, Grover Brown2, Houston Chandler3, Daniel D. Dye II4, Christopher Garza5, Marks McWhorter6, Matt Moore7, and Aimée Thomas8 Abstract - The ogre-faced spider Deinopis spinosa is the sole representative of the family Deinopidae in the US. Museum records suggest this species is restricted to the extreme southeastern US (Alabama and Florida) and Jamaica. Through nocturnal surveys and records from naturalist-oriented internet sites, we have discovered that this species is more widely distributed in the Coastal Plain region of the southeastern US. Herein, we document new state records for Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas, significantly expanding the known range of the species. It is unknown whether these records represent a recent range expansion or if the spider has historically been overlooked due to its cryptic nature and habits. The ogrefaced spiders or netcasting spiders (Family Deinopidae) are pantropical, with 1 species, Deinopis spinosa Marx, known from the southeastern US and Jamaica (Coddington 2017; Fig. 1). The enlarged posterior median eyes of the D. spinosa, which contribute to the genus’ common name and lend individuals a goggle-eyed appearance, are extremely sensitive and have a very short focal length (essentially the equivalent of a fish-eye lens) (Coddington 2017). For these primarily sight-hunting species, such eyes facilitate visually based nocturnal capture of prey under low-light conditions (Stafstrom and Hebets 2016). Deinopis spinosa has a novel and interesting forging strategy wherein individuals, positioned upside down, hold a rectangular-shaped net made of wooly silk with their 3 front pairs of legs (Fig. 1), lunge at, and expand the net to snare passing prey (Coddington and Sobrevila 1987, Coddington et al. 2012, Stafstrom and Hebets 2016). Published information relating to the distribution of D. spinosa in the US can be found in several sources. Comstock (1940:273) stated that “this rare species is known only from Florida and Alabama”. Marshall and Edwards (2001) mentioned that D. spinosa occurs statewide in Florida. In Alabama, there are several sites known from Baldwin County, a coastal county which borders the western edge of the Florida panhandle (Folkerts 2006). Based on the aforementioned museum records for Alabama and Florida, Coddington (2017:102) described the species range in the US as “the extreme southeastern US”. Publications specific to Texas (Jackman 1999), and South Carolina/North Carolina (Gaddy 2009, Gaddy and Morse 1985) did not consider D. spinosa as a native member of the spider fauna of these states. Similarly, we could not locate museum records or any mention in the literature of D. spinosa from Georgia, Louisiana, or Mississippi. 1Altamaha Environmental Consulting, Hinesville, GA 31313. 2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39401. 3The Orianne Society, Tiger, GA 30576. 413306 SW 168th Street, Brooker, FL 32622. 5Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, Houston, TX 77024. 6St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Jackson, MS 39216. 71617 Stanford Drive, Statesboro, GA 30461. 8Department of Biological Sciences, Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70118. Corresponding author - eelmoccasin@yahoo.com. Manuscript Editor: Richard Brown Notes of the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 17/2, 2018 N29 2018 Southeastern Naturalist Notes Vol. 17, No. 2 D.J. Stevenson, et al. From 2012 to 2017, we opportunistically conducted nocturnal headlamp surveys for D. spinosa at widely distributed sites in the Coastal Plain of the southeastern US including localities in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. The focus of our surveys was to document new localities (i.e., document sites outside of the currently known range) for this spider in the southeastern US. In most cases, specimens representing state records or new localities were deposited in museum collections (Appendix A). We complemented our field surveys with a search for D. spinosa observations catalogued on the internet sites BugGuide.net (http://bugguide.net) and iNaturalist (http://inaturalist.org) (both accessed October 2017). All BugGuide and iNaturalist observations (reported below) that we deemed as credible D. spinosa records were supported by photographs easily identifiable to this species. We collected (or photographed) D. spinosa at 1 site in Alabama, 4 sites in Georgia, 1 site in Mississippi, 1 site in South Carolina, and 1 site in Texas (Fig. 2; Appendix A). We also found D. spinosa at northern Florida sites close to the Georgia state line (Columbia County, FL) and in the eastern panhandle (Liberty County, FL). We located 2 additional records from BugGuide.net and iNaturalist for Alabama, an additional record for the Florida panhandle (Okaloosa County), 1 additional record for Georgia, 1 record for Louisiana, and 3 additional records for South Carolina (Appendix A). Our collection dates spanned from 27 April to 15 September; the dates of submissions for BugGuide.net and iNaturalist records (assumed to correspond with the dates on which these observations actually occurred) spanned from 30 June to 4 November. All of the D. spinosa records we compiled are from the Coastal Plain physiographic province and include 1 barrier island (Sapelo Island, GA). In an attempt to map the putative and current range of D. spinosa in the southeastern US, we buffered all records and credible observations for northerly states (i.e., states north of Florida) by 160 km. We extended this buffer inland to, but not beyond, the margin of the Coastal Plain (Fig. 2). Figure 1. An adult Deinopis spinosa, Liberty County, FL. Photograph © Daniel D. Dye. 2018 Southeastern Naturalist Notes Vol. 17, No. 2 N30 D.J. Stevenson, et al. The D. spinosa records we compiled significantly expand the known range of the species in the southeastern US, and represent the first state records (supported by museum specimens) for Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. In addition, we received a credible D. spinosa observation, in 2016, for a site in southeastern North Carolina (Fig. 2; Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC; H. Leonard, Rougemont, NC, 2016 pers. comm.). Deinopids are unusually rare in collections, and these spiders are seldom observed in the field (Coddington et al. 2012). Even so, D. spinosa may be common where it occurs (Coddington 2017). Wholly nocturnal, a behavior which likely evolved to evade predators, D. spinosa are inactive “stick mimics” during the daylight hours (Coddington 2017). These spiders seldom wander on the ground surface and thus are not expected in pitfall traps placed along terrestrial drift fences; for example, of 5236 spiders collected in pitfall traps at sandhill sites in north-central Florida, only a single D. spinosa was captured (Corey et al. 1998). We readily found 2–8 D. spinosa per person/hour via headlamp searches, during the spring/summer, by shining our lights on vegetation and tree trunks from 0.3–1.8 m (1−6 ft) above the ground. We found D. spinosa in a variety of terrestrial forested habitats including maritime hammocks, mixed Quercus (oak)–Pinus (pine) forests, and hardwood communities close to the margins of swamps. Sites in southern Alabama include coastal habitats close to brackish marshes and bay swamps (Folkerts 2006). We are unsure if D. spinosa has recently expanded its range northward in the Coastal Plain accompanying climate change, as has been reported for Nephila clavipes L. Figure 2. The range of Deinopis spinosa in the southeastern US. The overall range is shaded. Solid symbols represent localities supported by museum specimens, hollow symbols are observations supported by photographs, “?” is a recent credible sighting reported to the authors. Note: we have only mapped records for extreme northern Florida and for states north of Florida (D. spinosa occurs statewide in Florida [Marshall and Edwards 1981]). N31 2018 Southeastern Naturalist Notes Vol. 17, No. 2 D.J. Stevenson, et al. (Golden Silk Orbweaver; Bakkegard and Davenport 2012). The number of recent records (2007−2017) for states north of Florida suggest this may be the case. However, because of its cryptic nature, as described above, D. spinosa is easily overlooked and thus underreported. Also, this spider may occur in parts of the southeastern US that have not been well-sampled by arachnologists. So, whether the species has recently expanded its range or has historically been overlooked in the southeastern US may never be determined. We are not aware of any evidence suggesting that D. spinosa, like some arachnid taxa, has been introduced or expanded its range via transport by humans (Nedve d et al. 2011). We recommend that arachnologists, as well as natural heritage programs for states in which D. spinosa is now known to occur, track the occurrence of this spider. Spider biologists in Atlantic Coastal Plain states north of and contiguous with the documented range of D. spinosa (i.e., North Carolina, Virginia) should survey for this spider. We do not consider D. spinosa to be imperiled or a species of conservation concern, nor particularly habitatspecific, but wish to underscore that there are very few records for this species for states located north of Florida. Although not a model citizen-science species organism like the Golden Silk Orbweaver (Bakkegard and Davenport 2012) the advent of digital photography and citizen-science websites like BugGuide.net and i-Naturalist will continue to augment our knowledge of this spider’s distribution. Acknowledgments. We thank the following individuals for fielding questions or helping look for spiders in the field: Jeff Beane, Jonathan Coddington, G.B. Edwards, Debbie Folkerts, Chick Gaddy, Rebecca Godwin, Paul Moler, Steve Roble, and Ben Stegenga. Literature Cited Bakkegard, K.A., and L.J. Davenport. 2012. Nephila clavipes (Araneae: Nephilidae): A model species for monitoring climate change in the southeastern United States. Southeastern Naturalist 11:551−566. Coddington, J.A. 2017. Chapter 24: Deinopidae. Pp. 102−103, In D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing, and V. Roth (Eds.). Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual, 2nd Edition. American Arachnological Society, Keene, NH. 425 pp. Coddington, J.A., and C. Sobrevila. 1987. Web manipulation and two stereotyped attack-behaviors in an ogre-faced spider, Deinopis subrufus Marx (Araneae: Deinopidae). Journal of Arachnology 15(2):213–226. Coddington, J.A., M. Kuntner, and B.D. Opell. 2012. Systematics of the Spider Family Deinopidae with a Revision of the genus Menneus. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 636:iv +1–61. Comstock, J.H. 1940. The Spider Book. Revised and edited by W.J. Gertsch. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 729 pp. Corey, D.T., I.J. Stout, and G.B. Edwards. 1998. Ground-surface spider fauna in Florida sandhill communities. Journal of Arachnology 26:303−316. Folkerts, D.R. 2006. A preliminary checklist of the spiders of Alabama. Auburn, AL. Available online at www.auburn.edu/folkedr/spiders/. Accessed 1 October 2017. Gaddy, L.L. 2009. Spiders of the Carolinas. Kollath Stensaas Publish ing, Duluth, MN. 208 pp. Gaddy, L.L., and J.C. Morse. 1985. Common spiders of South Carolina with an Annotated Checklist. South Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 1094:1−182. Jackman, J.A. 1999. A Field Guide to the Spiders and Scorpions of Texas. Taylor Trade Publishing, Lanham, MD. 202 pp. Marshall, S., and G.B. Edwards. 2001. Florida’s Fabulous Spiders. World Publications, Tampa, FL. 64 pp. Nedved, O., S. Pekar, P. Bezdecka, E. Liznarova, M. Rezac, M. Schmitt, and L. Sentenska. 2011. Ecology of Arachnida alien to Europe. BioControl 56:539−550. Stafstrom, J.A., and E.A. Hebets. 2016. Nocturnal foraging enhanced by enlarged secondary eyes in a net-casting spider. Biology Letters 12:1−4. 2018 Southeastern Naturalist Notes Vol. 17, No. 2 N32 D.J. Stevenson, et al. Appendix 1. Recent (2007–2017) Deinopis spinosa records/observations for extreme northern Florida and for states north of Florida. # = number of Deinopis observed (number of museum speciments). Latitude/longitude Museum specimen Date State, county Location (decimal degrees) Collector(s) or observation # 16 June 2012 AL, Escambia Conecuh National Forest 31.039266°N, 86.752166°W D. Dye Author’s observ.; photo 1(0) 5 August 2016 AL, Mobile Dog River 30.622421°N, 88.118228°W R. Zimlich www.bugguide.net 1(0) 8 July 2016 AL, Montgomery Montgomery 32.332969°N, 86.143524°W Anonymous www.inaturalist.org 1(0) 15 July 2012 FL, Columbia Osceola National Forest 30.279708°N, 82.480225°W D. Dye Authors observ.; photo 1(0) 21 August 2010 FL, Liberty Torreya State Park 30.562471°N, 84.951284°W D. Dye Authors observ.; photo 1(0) 30 June 2011 FL, Okaloosa Niceville 30.517450°N, 86.477035°W O. Toness www.bugguide.net 1(0) 2 August 2016 FL, Okaloosa Niceville 30.517450°N, 86.477035°W O. Toness www.bugguide.net 1(0) 1 July 2015 GA, Bulloch 10.4 km ESE Statesboro 32.426662°N, 81.675626°W M. Moore Florida State Collection 2(1) of Arthropods (FSCA) 1 July 2016 GA, Bulloch 10.4 km ESE Statesboro 32.426662°N, 81.675626°W M. Moore FSCA 2(1) 11 August 2016 GA, Bulloch 4.6 km NW Statesboro 32.474608°N, 81.821868°W H. Chandler FSCA 1(1) 3 July 2016 GA, Glynn Altama Plantation WMA 31.339426°N, 81.512912°W M. Moore, FSCA 12(8) D. Stevenson 6 May 2017 GA, Glynn Altama Plantation WMA 31.339426°N, 81.512912°W M. Moore, FSCA 12(8) D. Stevenson 6 August 2017 GA, Liberty Hinesville 31.850077°N, 81.573963°W D. Stevenson FSCA 1(1) 8 October 2011 GA, McIntosh Sapelo Island 31.470024°N, 81.240393°W Anonymous www.bugguide.net 1(0) Preserve 12 July 2016 GA, Telfair Orianne Indigo Snake 31.844328°N, 82.807779°W M. Moore, FSCA 4(4) Preserve H. Chandler 17 September 2015 LA, West Feliciana Preserve 30.821023°N, 91.265205°W T. White www.bugguide.net 1(0) Feliciana Parish 27 April 2016 MS, Forrest Lake Thoreau 31.346700°N, 89.416600°W M. McWhorter, Loyola University, 2(1) Environmental Center A. Thomas New Orleans, LA 15 September 2017 MS, Forrest Lake Thoreau 31.346700°N, 89.416600°W M. McWhorter, Loyola University, 2(1) Environmental Center A. Thomas New Orleans, LA 4 November 2012 SC, Beaufort Beaufort 32.425791°N, 80.689300°W Anonymous www.bugguide.net 1(0) N33 2018 Southeastern Naturalist Notes Vol. 17, No. 2 D.J. Stevenson, et al. Latitude/longitude Museum specimen Date State, county Location (decimal degrees) Collector(s) or observation # 22 July 2007 SC, Charleston West Ashley 32.805079°N, 80.063479°W Anonymous www.bugguide.net 1(0) 22 July 2015 SC, Dorchester Summerville 33.013068° N, 80.172436° W Anonymous www.bugguide.net 3(0) 17 June 2017 SC, Dorchester Summerville 33.013068° N, 80.172436° W Anonymous www.bugguide.net 3(0) 19 August 2017 SC, Dorchester Summerville 33.013068° N, 80.172436° W Anonymous www.bugguide.net 3(0) 19 August 2017 SC, Jasper 4.8 km NW Whitehouse 32.238764°N, 81.110929°W M. Moore, FSCA 2(2) D. Stevenson 16 August 2017 TX, Harris Houston Arboretum 29.764838°N, 95.452092°W C. Garza Houston Museum of 2(1) Natural Science