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‘Mystery spider’ stirs curiosity among C.O. residents; biologist provides its identity

It's a folding trapdoor spider

Bend, Ore. (KTVZ)--With so many Central Oregonians enjoying nature and the outdoors as summer turns to fall, a spider some have come across recently has stirred curiosity.

Many natives apparently didn't know what the mysterious specimen was, so NewsChannel 21 reached out to an Oregon State University professor to find out.

Chris Marshall, who is part of OSU’s Department of Integrative Biology, said Friday the specimen is question is of an Antrodiaetus genus -- a folding trapdoor spider, as it's known.

Marshall shared information about the spider, saying it’s a close relative to tarantulas, but is a unique species in the Northwest, and is nocturnal.

Marshall added that although it’s local to the area, coming across the spider is rare.

“They spend their time hidden, and they’re only out during a certain time of year -- and only out at night, and so that’s not necessarily an easy observation to make,” he said.

Marshall said the reason the trapdoor spider might be spotted at the moment is due to weather conditions.

“It’s my understanding that the males are dispersing to find mates in this period of time, when there tends to be early fall rains,” Marshall said.

Whenever people are out exploring nature and are curious to find out about any animal species they may come across, there are websites to help assist.

Marshall suggested users use inaturalist.org when contributing information. Providing brief context about where and when the specimens in question are located also helps scientists with research.

“They can upload photographs of biodiversity, and those photographs are made usable to scientists around the world,” Marshall said.

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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.

Comments

8 Comments

  1. This is NOT a mystery spider. This exact same photo was shared on a local Facebook Gardening group which I am a member of. The poster stated that she had found the spider drowned in her dog’s outdoor water bowl and wanted to know what kind it was. Another member identified it as a Trap door spider.

  2. I used to be a writer. When I wrote a piece, before I sent it to my editor, I would ask myself, What questions is a reader going to ask? Is the spider poisonous? comes to mind.

      1. Poisons can also be enhaled and absorbed through the skin. That typed, a spider bite that causes any real harm is extremely rare. I do not believe that any verified deaths or serious injuries have ever been reported in Oregon as a result of a spider bite.

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