This female Southern House Spider (Kukulcania hibernalis) was recently found behind a picture in the Johns Island Schoolhouse Museum. True to her reclusive nature she was well hidden and and even ghostlike in appearance against the gray background. The male of the species has longer legs and a narrower abdomen.
Both can grow up to 2 inches in length though our lady here was somewhat smaller; about an inch and a half. Distinct differences in appearance between genders is know as “sexual dimorphism” (which I’ll confess I had to look up). For more information see this excellent post at CarnivoraForum including some great photos.
Johns Island is home to a wide variety of butterflys and colorful moths (as seen in our current banner photo). This is a Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus) on a Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) bloom. The Mexican or Tropical Milkweed is not native to the lowcountry but is frequently planted in gardens as an ornamental where this one was found. The Queen Butterfly feeds on the milkweed and uses it as a nursery for her eggs. In addition to it’s orange colored blossom, the milkweed plant’s attraction to butterflies is another reason it is so popular in gardens; a “twofer” of horticultural and entomological beauty.
Thanks to Lori Porwoll for finding “Beast” and identifying spider, butterfly and plant.