|Male S. rufipes|
The Red legged purseweb spider (Sphodros rufipes) is a mygalomorph spider from the southern USA, though it has been photographed as far north as Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, and Tuckernuck Island in Massachusetts. A recent sighting shows that these spiders also can be found in Canada.
The species name rufipes is Latin for "red foot".
This spider is also sometimes known as Sphodros (Atypus) bicolor, a synonym.
These spiders are solid and strong-looking and their bodies are black. The males have distinctive long red or red-orange legs, and the females have black legs. Females are known to reach a length of about 25 mm, or just under an inch, though they may also get slightly larger. Like other spiders in its infraorder mygalomorph, it has fangs that point straight down rather than crossing.
This spider has a distinctive method of catching its prey. It spins a tunnel of silk against the side of a tree or supported by stones or other convenient objects, and waits for its prey to land or climb on the side of the tunnel. Then the spider bites through the silk walls and pulls the prey inside. These spiders rarely leave their webs for any reason other than mating.
- Gertsch, W.J. & Platnick, N.I. (1980). A revision of the American spiders of the family Atypidae (Araneae, Mygalomorphae). American Museum novitates 2704. Abstract - PDF (12Mb)
- Platnick, Norman I. (2009): The world spider catalog, version 9.5. American Museum of Natural History.
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