Herpyllus ecclesiasticus Hentz, 1832

parson spider


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How to Identify Herpyllus ecclesiasticus Hentz, 1832

Family: GNAPHOSIDAE Pocock, 1898

Genus: Herpyllus Hentz, 1832

Species: Herpyllus ecclesiasticus Hentz, 1832

Origin of Name: The specific epithet ecclesiaticus is derived from the Latin word ecclesia, which means church.

Official Common Name: parson spider

Male dimensions A = 2.53 mm 
B = 2.83 mm 
C = 1.95 mm 
Male dimensions A = 3.64 mm 
B = 4.11 mm 
C = 2.75 mm 


Southern Alberta to Nova Scotia, south to Texas, northern Mexico, and Florida. West of the continental divide, Herpyllus propinquus (Keyserling, 1887) is usually found instead of this species.

Collection Map of Museum Specimens
in The Nearctic Spider Database

Museum Specimens in The Nearctic Spider Database

Typical Habitats

In buildings and under logs and stones. Individuals have also been found in association with oak, maple, cottonwood, basswood, pine, other similar trees, and pitcher plants.

Activity Patterns

Mature males and females have been found year-round. Females have been found guarding their egg sacs under loose bark where they may also overwinter.

Other Web Pages

The Nearctic Spider Database (http://www.canadianarachnology.org/data/spiders/27400)

Recent Submissions

Herpyllus ecclesiasticus (Bev Wigney [June 30, 2007])Observation Date: June 30, 2007 Coordinates: 45.1465, -75.6088 Observer: Bev Wigney
Observation: I female spider found indoors. This is the second of these spiders that I've found in the house this season.

Herpyllus ecclesiasticus (Bev Wigney [June 14, 2007])Observation Date: June 14, 2007 Coordinates: 45.1465, -75.6088 Observer: Bev Wigney
Observation: Female spider found in kitchen sink while I was preparing dinner. I went to move it outdoors after photographing, but it escaped and ran inside a vent in the oven. It may well show up in the sink again as I've found these spiders in the sink a couple of times before, but in August. Spider is missing one of its legs. Reference photo (1) at: http://www.pbase.com/image/80552313/original