This attractive male jumping spider has some interesting hooks on his chelicerae. Take a closer look at this crop from the image above.
He really has a lot going on colorwise as well. I imagine those banded front legs might be used in some sort of courtship ritual. One has to wonder if and when those hooks come into play though.
These two photos of critters both 4mm long were taken less than an hour apart in spots just a few feet apart. I believe these two are probably a mimic and its model.
I first photographed the jumping spider. I only got a few shots before I lost it. Later I spotted the ant and took quite a few photos. Here I selected one that would show roughly the same pose as the spider.
The area around the rearmost eyes of the jumping spider is darkened to better match the larger black eyes of the ant. The dark spots on the spider’s abdomen are an anomaly though. Maybe this ant isn’t the model after all?
I’ve actually seen many tiny jumping spiders like this one in parks around my house. I got somewhat obsessed late last year after finding the first one. Once I started looking, they were really quite easy to find on the undersides of sycamore leaves. That’s the subject of another post though.
This little salticid has captured a small fly of some sort.
White scales on the chelicerae almost look like a mustache.
Only Ted C. MacRae ventured a guess for this most recent identification challenge. He was exactly right, though a bit confused by his source which indicated this species might not occur in Costa Rica. This is indeed Phiale guttata.
The World Spider Catalog lists the distribution for this wide ranging species as Costa Rica to Paraguay. The Global Species Database of Salticidae site lists all the species for Costa Rica, and allowed me to eliminate the possibility of similar spiders in the same genus. There are also some good photos and illustrations there.
This specimen was impressively large, perhaps the largest salticid I’ve ever encountered. A snippet from “A mimicry complex between mutillid wasps (Hymenoptera: Mutillidae) and spiders (Araneae)” states that this is the largest Salticid from the study area. I can’t access the article, but the title suggests this species might mimic velvet ants (Mutillidae). The snippet also mentions two color morphs, yellow and black as here, as well as red and black. It must be quite variable, because there’s a photo here of a white and black morph as well.
This female’s abdomen appears even larger than normal. I’d guess she’s gravid.
She was quite photogenic, so here’s some more photographs.
I first spotted just one of these male jumping spiders. As I prepared to take some photos, it became aware of another male nearby. They approached one another and were obviously sizing each other up in preparation for a fight. Neither backed down, and so the fight was on.
I like how they raise their pedipalps like boxing gloves. Or maybe that’s just to keep them away from the others fangs? Which would you bet wins this bout?
According to the timestamps on my images, they fought for around seven minutes. It looked like the object was simply to dislodge the opponent and send them tumbling away. You can see how they are using their long front legs to try and grab the other’s hind legs and pull them out from beneath each other. This is the knockout shot, as the one on the left has succeeded in grabbing the right one’s hind leg and right after pushed it off the leaf.
I found this pair on a viburnum in my backyard. What looks like a male Phidippus whitmani has subdued what I assume is a winged reproductive carpenter ant.
I didn’t notice while I was taking pictures, but while reviewing them I saw that a little fly arrived to share in the spoils.