Kukulcania hibernalis (Southern House Spider)

About Kukulcania hibernalis

Taxonomic Hierarchy

→ Kingdom: Animalia
→ Phylum: Arthropoda
→ Class: Arachnida
→ Order: Araneae
→ Family: Filistatidae
→ Genus: Kukulcania
→ Species: Kukulcania hibernalis

Common Name (Official / AAS)

Southern House Spider

Other Common Names

Crevice Weaver

Author

Author of species name: Nicholas Marcellus Hentz. First year published: 1842, as Filistata hibernalis.

Pronunciation

koo-kool-KAY-nee-uh hy-ber-NAY-liss

Meaning

The genus name, erected in 1967 by Pekka T. Lehtinen, is after the Mayan god Kukulcan (Cameron 2005). It translates to “plumed serpent,” similar to the Aztec’s Quetzalcoatl. The specific epithet, hibernalis, is Latin for “wintry (pertaining to winter).” Perhaps Hentz chose it because (from his original description), “It comes out occasionally during the winter, but cold is apt to render it torpid, and it then remains several days in the same situation, moving slightly in the middle of the day” (Hentz 1842).

Notable Previous Names

Filistata hibernalis

Identifying Traits of Kukulcania hibernalis

Size

Body length (excluding legs) of adult female ranges from 13-25 mm; adult males range from 9-12 mm.

Female Primary Colors

Male Primary Colors

Eye diagram of Kukulcania hibernalis

Eyes

Total of eight eyes, clustered very close together on a central mound on the front of the carapace. For this reason, these spiders are sometimes confused for one of the more primitive spiders in the infraorder Mygalomorphae. The adult male Kukulcania hibernalis is the spider most often mistaken for a “brown recluse” (Loxosceles reclusa), but the eye arrangements between the two are vastly different and should be used to separate these two spiders from one another.

Legs

In females, legs dark brown or black and velvety-looking; proportionate to body size. In adult males, legs light brown and exceptionally long. Males are often confused with “brown recluses” but, on close inspection, you will see that the Kukulcania male has thick black spines on its legs, whereas the brown recluse has shorter hairs that are more wispy and not as noticeable. Kukulcania hibernalis tarsi (tips of legs) have 3 claws.

Body

This species is sexually dimorphic in color and shape. Females are velvety black, gray, or occasionally dark brown. Males are light brown and mostly glossy. Females are robust spiders; males are much more slender, with a proportionately smaller abdomen.

Range of Kukulcania hibernalis

Kukulcania hibernalis can be found in the following states, provinces and territories across the United States and Canada. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions, in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders do not adhere to the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore these ranges are subject to change.

United States

Canada

Species not seen in Canada.

Additional Information

Habitat

This species is often associated with human habitations, spreading its web from cracks and crevices on the exterior of homes, barns, and other structures. In “nature,” look for them under stones, loose bark on trees and logs, and in yucca plants.

Web

The web is net-like in appearance, and sprawls from a crack or crevice where the spider hides. The spider may venture to the entrance of its web at night waiting for potential prey to blunder into the snare. The silk is not sticky but “fluffy” and tangled, produced from a special organ called the cribellum, located just in front of the spinnerets. The spider uses a brush on its fourth leg to comb out the silk, giving it the properties necessary to entangle prey.

Season

Mature individuals may be found at any time of year.

Food

Prey is any insect that the spider can overpower.

Lifecycle

A mated female lays about 200 eggs, wrapping them loosely in a silken sac roughly 15 mm in diameter, and guarding them inside her funnel-like retreat. Spiderlings of this species are considered “social;” they exhibit sibling recognition, co-operative prey capture and feeding, and formation of aggregations both after feeding and after dispersal from their mother’s web (Curtis & Carrel 1999). The female spiders can live for up to eight years — like theraphosids (“tarantulas”), females molt even after they have reached sexual maturity.

Remarks

The males of this genus are frequently mistaken for “brown recluses” and other species in the genus Loxosceles (family Sicariidae), and persecuted needlessly. Males wander in search of females and may occasionally stray indoors at that time.

Pictures of Kukulcania hibernalis (Southern House Spider)

General

Female Spiders

Male Spiders

Filtering options are grayed out when we do not have pictures for the given perspective. If you are a spider photographer, you can submit pictures of spiders to help fill any voids in our ever expanding library.
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Lateral
  • City/Region: Dorchester County
  • State: South Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Alabama
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Myrtle Beach
  • State: South Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: Tucson
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Madera Canyon
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Rio Rico
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: New Mexico
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Ridgefield, Chapel Hill
  • State: North Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Longview
  • State: Texas
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Egg Sacs, Webs
  • City/Region: Dorchester County
  • State: South Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Northeast
  • State: Florida
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Lateral
  • City/Region: Mesquite Oasis
  • State: California
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes, Lateral
  • City/Region: Mesquite Oasis
  • State: California
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes, Webs
  • City/Region: Harkers Island
  • State: North Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Spiderlings
  • City/Region: Dorchester County
  • State: South Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: South Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • State: South Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Lateral
  • City/Region: North East
  • State: Florida
  • Country: United States
  • Kukulcania hibernalis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Webs
  • City/Region: Conway
  • State: South Carolina
  • Country: United States

References and Further Reading

Various Research Papers

Scientific Diagrams and Keys for Identification

References for the Casual Reader

Species guide last updated: May 29, 2016

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