Ant Mimicking Spider and Possible Model

November 28th, 2011 - 8:24 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park

Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

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.

Spider Corpse with Fungus

October 22nd, 2011 - 11:09 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 6 Comments

14mm long | July 5, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Can you spot the spider corpse here? Looks like it succumbed to some sort of fungal infection. Fungi are quite diverse and I don’t recall ever seeing one quite like this one. Here’s a closer view.

Closeup of fungus

I suspect that webbing is probably from the spider itself. It probably was hiding inside a silken retreat when it died.

Side view

Would the fungus properly be called an arachnopathogen? I think so but there’s practically no hits when I search for that term.

I did find a photo with a similar looking fungus on BugGuide though. Sadly, no info on the identity of the fungus. It’s neat to see that the photo was taken not too far from where I live though.

Am I the only one that wonders if I should be wearing a surgical mask when I get close to something like this?

Green Huntsman Spider

September 5th, 2011 - 2:45 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 2 Comments

9mm body | July 9, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

This attractive green huntsman spider in the family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae) was concealed beneath a leaf. With such a striking green color, it must hunt primarily in foliage.

When I found it, it was concealed within a silken retreat on the underside of a leaf. The texture of the silk is interesting.

Concealed within silken retreat

That wouldn’t do for photos though, so I poked at it until it removed itself.

Reluctantly exposed

That did allow for some nice closeup shots though, like this one of the eyes. I always try to get a shot like this to help in the identification.

Closeup of eyes

I always try to remember to turn off one of the flash heads on my MT-24EX for these shots. Otherwise, each eye has a strange looking double highlight. I initially forgot but then I noticed while reviewing for exposure on the LCD so I took some more.

Spitting Spider

July 26th, 2011 - 8:17 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

5mm body | July 3, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Spitting spiders in the family Scytodidae are easily recognized by their high dome-shaped carapace. They are named for their behavior of spitting a liquid that turns gooey on contact, ensnaring their prey.

Although they occur in my area, I’ve never seen one around my home. For whatever reason, I don’t think I’ve made a trip to Brazil yet where I haven’t seen at least one. This one was on the underside of a small log.

Dorsolateral view

Scorpion

July 13th, 2011 - 11:23 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

20mm body | July 9, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I spotted this scorpion on the trail just after dark. Somehow I spooked it and it ran for cover. When I removed the leaf it had hidden under, it was curled up as shown below.

Hiding under a leaf

 

Aranha Caranguejeira – Tarantula

July 11th, 2011 - 6:34 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

15mm body | July 9, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I found this little tarantula (family Theraphosidae) under a rock. It could be full-grown, but I suspect it’s young and far from its adult size. It blends in quite well with the rocky ground.

Lateral view

Another angle

Despite its small size, it’s definitely got attitude. After some prodding, it demonstrated a classic threat display.

Don't mess with me

Harvestman

July 7th, 2011 - 7:10 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

7mm body | July 2, 2011 | Monte Alegre, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Here’s another crazy looking harvestman for my collection. This was a small one, found under a log. I didn’t want to risk it getting away, so I grabbed it and took those pictures at home on a piece of bark.

Aside from the horns towards the rear of the abdomen, there’s a couple that rise up between the eyes.

Lateral view

There’s also a nice collection of spurs on the hind legs. Here’s a closer look at one of those legs.

Hind leg detail

Here’s a closer look at the eyes. What I assume is a mite is sitting in front of the eyes, with a scattering of what must be eggs close by. If you look closely, you can find other mites in these photos.

Lateral view of eyes

Frontal view of eyes

Here’s a few more photos.

Closeup of body

View from the other side

One last view

I just noticed some harvestman photos online showing how some flouresce under UV light. I didn’t realize that or I would’ve experimented with this one. I already released it in a nearby park, so I’ll have to find another one now!

 

Huntsman Spider

July 7th, 2011 - 11:45 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

13mm body | July 2, 2011 | Monte Alegre, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I’m pretty sure this is a huntsman spider in the family Sparassidae.

Frontal view

Odd Spider

July 6th, 2011 - 11:00 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 5 Comments

7mm (body) | July 2, 2011 | Monte Alegre, Minas Gerais, Brazil

One of my brother-in-laws offered to drop me off for a few hours in a forested area on one of his farms. I was thrilled, but perhaps a bit anxious when he offered me a revolver in case I encountered a jaguar. I turned down the gun and if there was a jaguar in the area I never saw it.

The first critter I found was this odd looking spider. I spotted it while breaking up a rotting log. It’s quite flat, evolved no doubt for squeezing into tight spaces. I wanted to grab it for a closer look, but it managed to fall into the leaf litter and escape.

It’s difficult to make out details like the number and arrangement of the eyes. Maybe something in the family Thomisidae?

Harvestman

July 4th, 2011 - 12:07 PM | Filed under Featured Photos, Uncategorized | No comments

January 21, 2011 | Finca La Isla, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Could this be the harvestman equivalent of an ostrich burying its head in the sand? Or maybe it was just trying to get at something to eat.

Hiding? Eating?

After a few shots as I found it, I prodded it into a better position.

Prodded into a better position

It has some interesting “combs” on a few of its rearmost legs.

Comb-like structures on rearmost legs

Dorsolateral view

It’s actually quite small, the body measuring only about 5mm front to back. The longest leg, however, was about 3cm long. I’m not sure what purpose those horns might serve.

Small body, 5mm long

4mm wide

"Comb" on the right

I have to admit I’m drawn to these strange creatures. I think in part it’s simply because they are so alien looking.