About this tool

Background information

This tool was created with a very specific goal in mind: to prevent the potential spread of spiders via exportation of fresh table grape bunches from California's Central Valley growing areas to our trading partners in Australia and New Zealand. Table Grape Spider ID (TGSId) was designed to assist inspectors in identifying spiders and spider egg sacs found in table grape shipments from the Central Valley of California bound for Australia and New Zealand. The list of spider species included in TGSId was taken from studies involving grapes in the Central Valley of California and field work with spiders known to exist in California. Some species are common California spiders and/or are ubiquitous agroecosystem inhabitants, so the tool may offer some utility outside of table grape vineyards as well.

Additionally, as far as can be determined, this is the first attempt to provide an identification guide to spider egg sacs in a food commodity. The identification key to egg sacs may allow elimination of particular species or may lead one to an end point where identification to species is not possible from morphological features. Due to this, and the fact that spiders and their egg sacs may be relatively easily damaged and lose critical identification characters, a molecular search tool is provided to allow the ability to positively identify a spider species using a DNA barcode sequence.