Saturday, 28 January 2012

Crab Spider Excreting

    Here is a short film of a Crab Spider - Xysticus sp. excreting.
    I have only observed this once before, in a large, gravid female Nursery
    Web Spider (Pisaura Mirabilis), she literally squirted it out like a jet spray!
    I've never looked into this before but I learned some interesting facts about
    Spider excretions today. Spiders don't produce much waste, as they do not
    consume the indigestible parts (exoskeleton) of their prey. They do not have
    separate urine and feces. Spider droppings consist mainly of Guanine (a
    component of DNA, found in all life on Earth), also Adenine, Hypoxanthine
    and Uric acid, all of which are nitrogenous.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Thanatus vulgaris

    Family - Philodromidae
    Genus - Thanatus    

    My friend Davyd Skull sent me these next two Photographs of a Thanatus vulgaris
    that he found in a box of Crickets he had purchased for his Tarantulas.
    Many thanks to Gary Bradley of who identified the Spider:
    "I had an email from someone a couple of years ago with a very similar
    spider, also found in a box of crickets. It's a cosmopolitan species which
    sometimes shows up 'in the wild' in this country - doubtless from similar
    sources. It belongs to the family Philodromidae, the Running Crab Spiders.
    Apparently we've got two native species of Thanatus, one widespread
    but not common (T. striatus), the other a national rarity (T. formicinus)".

    Photographs by Davyd Skull
    January 2011
    I sent these Photo's to Peter Harvey of the British Arachnological Society.
    Many thanks to Peter for his invaluable knowledge and allowing me to quote
    him here and throughout this Blog:
    "Thanatus vulgaris in southern Europe may have an extremely complex
    taxonomy with a range of closely similar species involved.   
    The two records we have in the recording scheme, one is the original record
    of its occurrence outdoors in a field of winter wheat and the other is an
    established population indoors in Edinburgh Zoo. No doubt other populations
    have established in similar situations elsewhere in the country".

What is This?

    I am extremely proud to announce that my favourite Author Gordon Grice is
    currently running a quiz featuring some of my Macro Photography
    on his amazing Blog - Deadly Kingdom: The Night Side of Nature.
    Please click HERE to view!

    Answers to quiz HERE

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Spiders of Nepal

    My friend Gabrielle Lewry, very kindly sent me this photo
    that she took of a beautiful Argiope sp. Gabrielle spotted the Spider,
    whilst filming the rice harvest near Kathmandu, Nepal. 

    Photograph by Gabrielle Lewry
    December 2014

    My friend Robert Hopkins sent me these excellent Photographs.
    Robert travels to some remote places around the world and he has very
    kindly given me permission to post his sightings on my Blog.
    Nephila sp. - a type of Orb Weaver. Although the Web
    doesn't look particularly Orb shaped. She does look like she is
    busy constructing her web as the photo was taken.
    Robert tells me the Spider was the size of his palm.
    Everest trek, Nepal
    November 2011
    Nephila and her young? Robert tells me the web was 20-25 ft
    above ground and that they were everywhere.
    Everest trek, Nepal
    Photographs by Robert Hopkins
    November 2011

Spiders of Hawaii

    My friend Ceridwen Falk very kindly sent me these Photographs she
    took on Big Island, Hawaii. 
    Argiope appensa
    Hawaiian Garden Spider.
    Known locally as a Banana Spider.
    They are also found in Taiwan and New Guinea.
    Photographs by Ceridwen Falk
    October 2010

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Segestria florentina - Tube Web Spider

    Family - Segestriidae
    Genus - Segestria
    A large Tube Web Spider. Six eyes. Adults have Irridescent Green Chelicerae.
    They are restricted to Southern UK with increasing numbers and
    distribution. These impressive Spiders sit in wait in Tubular retreats in
    walls, in the Bark of Trees, even under stones. The first three pairs of
    legs point forward which they rest on 'Trip-Wires' extending from
    their retreat. If anything touches the 'wires', the Spider will speedily rush
    out and grab the prey in it's Jaws and also uses its forward pointing Legs
    to clutch the prey in an almost hand-like movement.
    The back pair of Legs act as a spring to launch at prey and to
    retreat backwards into the hidden tube web. As illustrated in this video:

    As I tweaked a Wire, she swiftly appeared at her doorway.
    Poised for the Grabbing!

    I gently moved one of her front legs with a the end of a Pencil, to which she
    stood her ground, reared up her front pair of legs and bit down on the
    Pencil tip, twice. With some force, as I could feel it through the other end of
    the Pencil.
    I was tempted to let her bite me just to feel for myself but after sending the
    above Video to Author Gordon Grice and reading his comment -
    "I've read that the bite of these is not only mechanically painful, but also
    has a toxic effect that feels like a deep stab wound for a few hours" - I am
    glad that I didn't!
    Quite a fierce Spider - the straw in the above video was considerably bigger
    and much heavier than her - it didn't deter her. I figure she bit down on it a few
    times after seeing the pencil attack. She still tried to drag it home, even though
    it wasn't prey.
    Torchlight usually makes them withdraw into their Lair, so it seems her instinct
    to attack prey is stronger than it is to hide. Definately one of my favourite
    The Hand-like Legs configuration.
    The Fangs aren't that big but the Jaws/ Chelicerae are, and open wide for
    repeated stabbing bites.

    I counted 51 Tubular Retreats with Trip Wires in a space of about 20
    square feet. I observed hundreds of them over the course of a week.
    Impressive Colonsiation I'd say. As a child in the 1970's, I was fascinated
    with Spiders. I hunted high and low for them, all over Gosport, I never
    once came across this species.
    Gosport, Hampshire

    An exciting find for me.
    Made me jump when she (I think a Juvenile Female) rushed out of her
    tubular retreat in a wall.
    Not the best photographs as I was a bit excited and in a hurry.
    Musicroom Studios
    New Cross