The Red Legged Purseweb spider (Sphodros rufipes) is mygalomorph spider that is considered endangered. Although the spider has been photographed as far as Indiana, Missouri and New Jersey this spider primarily hails from the southern parts of the United States of America.
Though the spider’s scientific name is Sphodros rufipes it is sometimes know as Atypus bicolor, a synonym. The scientific name rufipes is Latin for “red foot”.
The Red Legged Purseweb spider has a black body and is strong-looking and solid. Despite the name Red Legged Purseweb spider, the females have black legs. The males have distinguishing red or red-orange legs. The female Red Legged Purseweb spider measures just under an inch but may grow to be slightly larger. This particular spider’s fangs point straight down instead of crossing, because it is a mygalomorph.
This spider has a specific and distinctive method of catching its prey. The spider uses the side of a tree or something of support such as stones or a convenient object to spin a tunnel of silk. The spider then waits for its prey to climb or land on the side of the tunnel. The spider then bites through the silk walls and pulls the prey in. Other than mating these spiders hardly ever leave their webs.
Attacks from fire ants are causing this spider to become endangered throughout much of its range.