I’ve slowly been learning to identify spiders native to my part of the continent (Great Lakes region of N. America). Recently I decided to tackle the Ground Crab Spiders, genus Xysticus, since they have a relatively high ratio of “Needs ID” to “Research Grade” observations (about 20:1 in N. America). I found some great resources, like “The Crab Spiders of Canada and Alaska” and BugGuide, and set about learning to ID some of the 20+ species that occur near me. (There are 67 species in the US and Canada, according to BugGuide.)
So I started identifying a few really obvious ones (to me, at least) on iNaturalist. I’ve gotten a lot of immediate blind agreements (ugh), but also a really interesting conversation with someone who doesn’t believe anyone can identify any Xysticus to species without dissection, and has therefore knocked the ID back to genus. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/747886
So I’m wondering if anyone reading this has or would be willing to track down some photos of live Xysticus spiders already paired with photos of their palps (male) or epigyne (female), in other words photos that have been identified to species with as much certainty as possible, so I can attempt to ID the full-body photos to species without seeing the palp or epigyne photos. Collection locations would have to be in N. America, preferably in the north-east, but I’m willing to attempt southern and western ones as well.
I’m reasonably confident I can accurately ID X. punctatus, and I’d like to measure my success rates for other species as well. If I’m overconfident, I want to destroy my overconfidence. And if I’m not overconfident, then I’d like to create some independent evidence of that. Either way, I’ll post the results of the test here.