Tag Archive: salticid


webnesday, episode 40 (friendly stranger edition)
welcome to another edition of ‘this is cool but i have no idea what it is.’ i found this little guy on the wall above our fishtank last week.  from a distance, it looked a little like Trite planiceps – similar size; vaguely similar shape; large, dark front legs.  but on closer inspection the abdomen, which is relatively larger and a different shape, looks flufflier and has a beautiful grass-green stripe running down the middle.  the front legs also appear a bit different and the jaws are shorter and more bulbous.  so for now, i will tentatively say ‘Trite sp.’ … i have sent a few draglines out into the nz spider world to see if anyone can name this beastie for me, and if they do, i’ll update it here.
in the meantime, hope you enjoy the pics – s/he was very friendly and even came in for a much closer look at me a few times (see videos at the end – sorry for the low quality, i’ve misplaced my better video camera for the moment).

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just to ease back into this (especially considering it’s not even the right day… is there such a thing as ‘ship-lag’?), i’ll kick off with some new photos of an old friend, Trite planiceps.  i know we’ve had this one before, most recently in august, but (a) it’s a jumping spider and you can never have too many of those; (b) this one just walked right up to me a few minutes ago and begged to be photographed, and (c) the results were good.  voila!

webnesday, episode 38 ('hey, remember me?' edition)

webnesday, episode 38 ('hey, remember me?' edition)

webnesday, episode 38 ('hey, remember me?' edition)

webnesday, episode 32 (bigger & better edition)
today is a slightly unorthodox edition – we’re revisiting Trite planiceps, a species already featured here once, but since the available technology is much improved in the meantime, and since the specimen i found crawling up the curtains yesterday was so particularly fine, i think it’s worth it.
this salticid is apparently often encountered in nz homes, although its more natural habitat is rolled-up flax leaves.  several studies have been conducted on T. planiceps, concluding that it can hunt non-visually (unusual for a jumping spider) and that individuals may pick up pheromone cues from silk spun by members of the opposite sex.personally, i like T. planiceps for several reasons – it’s quite distinctive, with its dark cephalothorax and grunty front legs; it seems to be a fairly calm salticid, making recording it easier than it is in some other subjects; and it obligingly takes offered prey, although it seemed to lose interest quickly in the unfortunate amphipod i sacrificed.

webnesday, episode 32 (bigger & better edition)

the wikipedia article is actually pretty informative for this species, so i’ll let you do your own further reading if you choose and just offer a few more nice things to look at.  :)

webnesday, episode 32 (bigger & better edition)

webnesday, episode 32 (bigger & better edition)

so very late this week!  eight-fold apologies!  i have a couple of editions in the works that i kept hoping would pan out in time, but at least one species is proving extremely difficult to find any photos of at all.  (obviously i need to take a field trip with my camera!)  so for now i give you another beautiful guest photo of my dad’s, from a series he took in early june.  he submitted one to national geographic for their ‘my shot’ feature.  i don’t see it online right now, but there are many other beautiful spider pics for your viewing pleasure.

webnesday, episode 29 (jumping to catch up edition)

inkspotters!  i have not been this excited about webnesday since i got to post the Porrhothele pics.  are you ready?  i know, i have been terribly delinquent and have not only missed two editions but also misnumbered the previous post (now fixed).  i apologize, and i’m about to make it up to you in spades.

i am currently visiting the natural history museum in santa barbara.  (the absence of any posts from this trip so far is a separate issue, to be rectified shortly.)  and while poking through squid jars, of course one eye is always peeled for other eight-legged, more animated wildlife.  cue the webnesday theme song (um, now accepting submissions?)… yesterday, two little jumping spiders (roughly of this ilk i think?) hopped across my workspace and were duly impounded for observation.  (and released, of course.)

here they are – and i know salticids get disproportionate attention here, but look at them.  can you really gaze into those four frontal eyes and not be smitten?

webnesday, episode 26 (showdown edition)

well, that’s not the end of the story.  today, no fewer than four individuals, all of this same species, appeared in various corners of the lab.  for a brief moment i even thought i had several males and a female, but (luckily for anyone who quails at the thought of business time in the spider world) they all turned out to be males.

and while observing them, i began to wonder how males react when they bump into each other, as they must do fairly often (given that i found four of them in under ten minutes).  fears of cannibalism did cross my mind, so i introduced them to each other slowly, through barriers at first.  they seemed disinterested until they were actually sharing a petri dish and then look what happened.

[unfortunately this post was written when the inkspot was hosted elsewhere and was capable of hosting videos.  if i ever get that capability back here i will re-post the clips because they are amazing!]

my favorite part was when they got right in each other’s faces, literally eye to eye, and started pushing, while still posturing with the front legs.

there was no physical fighting – well, no violence, no biting (luckily for my conscience.  although i was ready to separate them quickly if necessary) – just the alternating dance of the quivering pedipalps and reaching legs, and then the head-butting.

i don’t mind telling you, i was enthralled.  and i don’t think i stressed them too much – made sure the stand-offs were between similar-sized individuals and didn’t expose them to each other for longer then a couple minutes; and all were released into their separate corners afterward.  so, happy ending for everyone except the resident entomologist, whom i pestered a number of times with ‘hey, look what they’re doing now!’

ps, i have a new video camera.  :)

webnesday, episode 26 (showdown edition)

webnesday, episode 26 (showdown edition)

webnesday, episode 26 (showdown edition)

in recent weeks i’ve strayed a bit from the Araneae (true spiders) that i had intended to feature exclusively way back at the inception of webnesday.  in fact, embarrassingly, neither of the last two arachnids (whipspiders and harvestmen) can even produce silk, giving lie to the ‘webnesday’ title.  and since reponses to the former ranged from ‘coooool’ to ‘quite terrifying’ to ‘eight-legged parcel of terror,’ i’ll even scuttle back into the realm of true spiders with a nice charismatic salticid.  there, everybody happy?\

webnesday, episode 21 (chartreuse edition)

this vivid, fuzzy bundle of shoebutton eyes is the endearingly named Mopsus mormon, a large (to 12mm) jumping spider native to eastern australia (pics courtesy of tomboy again).  her common names include ‘green jumping spider‘ and (shudder) ‘clown spider,’ and the species apparently has an ‘unusually large and complex’ display repertoire for a salticid.  being quite active, Mopsus is probably hard to capture well on film (or pixels), although tomboy did a nice job in the above shot.  a quick search around the interweb (groan) revealed that several other photographers have also been lucky/persistent with this species, like this one (in particular, this shot).  i know i’d love to get the chance, myself!

webnesday, episode 21 (chartreuse edition)

Phidippus audax is probably the first spider species i fell in love with.  its black-and-white body and vivid green chelicerae are simply stunning, and of course it’s a charismatic salticid.  i didn’t stand a chance, really.  just look at it…

 

webnesday, episode 14 (cheat edition)

unfortunately i don’t have a single Phidippus image of my own (cue wistful sighing), so the one above is courtesy of kilarin via wikipedia.  in fact, i’ve never even seen a live Phidippus – my entire admiration for P. audax comes from a golden guide book to spiders and their kin that i had as a child.  the cover (which has changed in later editions) had three fantastic-looking spiders on it, and one was Phidippus.  the page it appeared on within the book (104, from memory) became dog-eared and ragged from excessive attention.  my parents won hero status by informing me they had once had a real live P. audax living in their mailbox in kansas.  if i’d been around about ten years earlier, i would have run out to check the mail every day in the hopes of seeing this:

webnesday, episode 14 (cheat edition)
(courtesy of opo terser via wikipedia)… but i was too late.

and so, until life presents me the opportunity to collect my own shots, i must content myself with the luck of others.  by the way, that photographer, opo terser, seems to have a disproportionate amount of spider luck, although he is certainly a photographer who deserves it – check out the other images and these wonderful videos.

Macro video of female P. audax

Juvenile P. audax eating harvestman

webnesday, episode 5 (bonus video edition)
i know i’ve been paying a lot of attention to jumping spiders lately.  but it’s hard not to look at those shiny button eyes, those bedhead-like setae, those fluffy knees, that quizzical octuple stare.  plus, the salticids (i say salticids, for there are several) in my office are particularly personable.  first, they cross my desk in small, attention-grabbing leaps.  then they submit patiently to scrutiny under bright lights and high magnification, and maybe being fed some weird things like centipedes.  and then, after being released in the same spot they were found… they stick around!  i’ve seen last week’s tiny jumper on three separate days in the meantime, and this larger jumper, who first appeared on my window last webnesday (fate, i tell you!) bounced across my computer screen again yesterday afternoon.  so yes, the salties have been getting a lot of webnesday love.  at this point, i don’t have any more of them lined up for next week, so we could be back to the trundling, longer-legged varieties.  but if one turns up before then, i might not be able to help myself.could you??

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fate is smiling upon webnesday look who wandered across my desk in tiny bounds.

webnesday, episode 4 (micro edition)

this little fellow (?) was no longer than 3mm.  and here we see why i will probably have to stick with science i need to have handy microscope access for just such occasions.  also, i suppose, i technically trained for it.  meh.

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political commentary is about as integral a part of this site as car enthusiasm. and it’s spider day. but seeing as this is an abnormal week, and the mold has already been broken, let me just bend the rules enough to say that some gleeful web-spinning took place in the living room this morning at 6am local time, and some little eight-legged boogies, and our tiny compound eyes welled up with tiny compound tears of delight and relief during the inaugural speech. it may be a long, predator-ridden journey, but when our egg sacs and grand-egg-sacs hatch, there will be more juicy flies for everyone.

this little guy, a salticid (jumping spider), probably Trite planiceps?

webnesday, episode 3 (inaugural edition)

he was jumping for joy too.