Sometimes I take pictures of spiders with my iPhone….

Hi all,

Guess what…. I’m buying a real camera soon! This means that I’ll finally be able to be a real ento-blogger, educating the world about all the cool critters out there πŸ™‚

In the meantime, here are a few pictures I’ve taken over the past year of spiders (and other arachnids) using my current camera (my iPhone). Enjoy!

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Spider of the Week: the Twin-flagged Jumping Spider (Anasaitis canosa)

This week’s spider is inspired by a beauty that I found in my shower (!) a couple weeks back. Not entirely sure why she was trying to set up camp in there, unless perhaps she was thirsty. Anyway, here are a few glamour shots, plus a couple cool facts about this species. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Anasaitis canosa from Austin, TX. This species gets its common name from the two large silvery-white spots on the top of its pedipalps.

Anasaitis is a small, currently paraphyletic genus (part of a clade with Corythalia. See: Zhang & Maddison 2013) . Most species are found in the Caribbean, but A. canosa occurs throughout the Southeastern United States.

These spiders are tiny! (Hand and knee of a ~5’8″ woman (myself) for scale).

This species often feeds on ants, as individuals live in leaf litter of forest floors. One observational study of A. canosa‘s hunting behavior found that this species will follow its prey along complex routes, and are perhaps even capable of internalizing and triangulating prey location. See the following paper for more info. It’s a very fun read! Hill 2006 Predatory pursuit of ants.

Like many other spiders, females produce egg sacs that they guard until the eggs hatch. Here’s a picture of my new friend with her newly produced sack. Hopefully I’ll get to see a few little jumper spiderlings sometime soon!

A. canosa female with her egg sac (top right).
A. canosa female with her egg sac (top right).

Last but not least, here’s a great video that makes the “twin flags” andΒ  beautiful iridescence of A. canosa much more apparent.

 

Spider of the Week: Phidippus texanus (Week 1)

Everyone, meet Linda, my new Phidippus texanus! I have spent way too much time watching/taking pictures of her this week, so I thought that I might as well share with everyone else.

photo 2-1
Linda, bein’ adorable, a few minutes after I first picked her up.

Spiders that belong to the North American genus Phidippus are some of the most well known jumping spiders of the Salticid family, as they are usually rather large and charismatic, and often have bright green chelicerae.

Can see a hint of Linda's green chelicerae in this shot.
Can see a hint of Linda’s green chelicerae in this shot.

Like many animals, Phidippus texanus is sexually dimorphic, in that females are mostly brown with some white stripes on their backside (see below), while males are black with bright red-orange coloring on the dorsal side of their abdomen (see picture here). This extreme coloration is possibly due to years of sexual selection, where male coloring could be a signal of health, good genes, etc… (see more on sexual selection here).

Linda - dorsal view.
Linda – dorsal view.

Anyway, I’m off to go do some DNA extractions for the rest of the afternoon, more info to come on P. texanus in the coming weeks!

Things I Learned This Week

What did I learn about spiders this week?

Someone discovered a new species!

This might be one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen: The Mirror Spider.

Spiders have enemies too…

Adorable jumping spider… if only there were a way to figure out what it’s thinking.

Came across this interesting study again.

One of many reasons for why it’s important to study spiders.

Another random NASA experiment with spiders: Spiders on Drugs

Have a good weekend!