“I heard my wife screaming”
That’s always a great way to start a spider story (thank you, Courier.co.uk), and sadly typical. This unhappy couple were keening over the discovery of a cold, sluggish spider in their refrigerator, which Scottish newshounds lost no time in identifying as an “Indian wolf spider” because it was found huddled near some imported grapes. I knew this guy right away, and so will you if you click that tab on the right that says “Zoropsis.” Yep, this looks like our good friend Zoro, this time caught in a Scottish icebox without his kilt.
“This spider could give a nasty bite but thankfully no one was harmed,” says an animal-control officer on no evidence whatsoever. You’d have to be off yer haggis to think Zoropsis spinimana was ever going to harm anybody. Bite? I don’t know, if you poked him in the face he might take that amiss. But these rugged Scots, equipped with all their spider-avoidance equipment, didn’t need to worry about that anyway. Thank god, again, for manly Scotsmen who stave off the beasties while their women find time first to scream and then to call the tabloids. (I’m saying “him,” but I can’t tell from this angle if the spider has the characteristic male palpal structures. I was joking about the kilt, but too bad it’s not as easy as hoisting one’s garments to tell a spider’s sex.)
Yeah, but it is pretty easy to rule it out as a “wolf spider.” Just because it’s brown? And patterned? Let’s call anything that has fur a … let’s see … I know, let’s call it a DOG. Good working hypothesis, until we get an actual expert to bear down on the question, which in this case will be never.
And I like this, um, expert who opines that you can tell it’s a weird spider because “unlike house spiders, its eyes are at the front of its head.” Forward-facing eyes, who knew? Don’t let all the other tens of thousands of spider species hear about this, they’ll be wanting forward-facing eyes, too!
And lo, you don’t even need to don your pith helmet and steam off to India to find Zoro’s family: that tricky Internet thing shows that Zoropsis–known for spreading beyond its Mediterranean range, including to the San Francisco Bay Area–is already established here and there in Britain. So brave up, Braveheart, and say hi to Zoro.