Tag Archive: spiders


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Theraphosidae

Genus/species: Brachypelma smithi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body and legs are dark brown with orange-red leg joints. The ends of the legs can detect vibrations, smells and tastes, to help the tarantula locate prey and the opposite sex, although it also has a group of eight eyes on the top of the carapace.

Length up to 14 cm (5.5 in)

Mexican Red Knee Tarantula30463911086_990fd616a7_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in in dry areas with little vegetation, usually in scrubland, deserts, dry thorn forests, or tropical deciduous forests along the central Pacific coast of Mexico.
DIET IN THE WILD: Hunting at night by lying in ambush, the Mexican redknee tarantula attacks insects, small frogs, small lizards, and mice. An area on the end of each leg is sensitive to smells, tastes and vibrations, and this is used to detect prey. The tarantula holds its prey with its pedipalps (front limbs) and injects it with venom delivered via two hollow fangs. This venom has a double purpose, paralysing the prey as well as beginning digestion. Once the venom has acted, the tarantula is able to suck up the proteins and fats of its prey, leaving just a small ball of undigested body parts

REPRODUCTION: Mating occurs in or near to the female’s burrow, where the male uses his pedipalps (front limbs) to transfer his sperm into openings in the underside of the female’s abdomen. After mating, some females will try to kill and eat the male. In the spring, the female deposits hundreds of eggs and the sperm onto a silk mat which she has made and then fashions this mat into a ball or egg sac. Fertilisation takes place within minutes and the spiderlings hatch in just less than three months. Once out of the egg-sac they spend two weeks in the burrow before dispersing. Males mature at about four years of age and females two to three years later at about six or seven years old. They are a long-lived species with females living up to 25 to 30 years old, however males only live about one year after maturity.

 

Mexican Red Knee Tarantula4515783385_eb611c7fd6_o

REMARKS: This usually docile tarantula will kick hairs off the abdomen with its hind legs when threatened, which cause blindness if they hit the eyes of a predator and can also cause a rash on the skin.
References

California Academy of Sciences Animal Attractions 2016

Ron’s Flickr   https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/30463911086/in/album-72157608653175263/

EOL  eol.org/pages/1181785/details

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1IR

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae (fangs slope towards each other in a pinching action)
Family: Nephilidae

Genus/species; Nephila Clavipes

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS; Orb-weavers are highly sexually dimorphic. Females grow up to 8 cm (3 in), and are 5 to 6 times larger than males. Adults are mostly yellow with elongated abdomen and long, hairy legs. This spider lives in hot places. The long cylindrical abdomen of the spider may be angled towards the sun to reduce the amount of exposed body surface and thus prevent overheating. The reflective silvery surface of much of the body serves the same purpose.

Nephila Clavipes   5389185249_24cf049f4f_b 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: These spiders are found from the southeastern United States south through Argentina and Peru. They prefer areas of high humidity and forest areas along trails and clearing edges. N. clavipes is the only member of its genus known in the Western Hemisphere.

DIET IN THE WILD: They feed on small flying insects: beetles, flies, moths, etc., that are captured in their web. After prey is entangled in the web, the spider incapacitates it by biting and then encases it in silk.

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REPRODUCTION: Mating is a tricky proposition for orb weaving males. For successful reproduction, males must successfully stimulate females in order to prevent being a meal for their would-be mate, though this unfortunate ending is relatively rare with this species.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Life span: a single season (1 year).

REMARKS: 

•Orb weavers construct webs for defense and capture of prey.

•The silk of the web usually has a golden color that is visible to the naked eye and is the source of the common name.

•The impressive web of most orb weavers is a semi-permanent structure, repaired and rebuilt daily as necessary.

•Spiders from the Nephilia species on display from Madagascar are sometimes released into the Rainforest exhibit. They have settled in a territory behind the exhibit and observable from the spiral ramp. Only females are released as 1) they are much larger than the males and so more visible and 2) the Rainforest biologists have no interest in the uncontrolled breeding of these spiders in the exhibit!

Rainforest Costa Rica CR03

References

California Academy of Sciences docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Nephila_clavipes/

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5389185249/in/album-72157620708938680/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1tf

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae (fangs slope towards each other in a pinching action)
Family: Nephilidae

Genus/species: Nephila madagascariensis

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GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have striped legs specialized for weaving (where their tips point inward, rather than outward as is the case with many wandering spiders). In females, the dorsal side of the abdomen has bright yellow markings surrounded by a light gray border. The rest of the body and legs are black with patches of brown. 4.8 – 5.1 cm (1.5 – 2 in) in females, not including leg span, with males being usually 2/3 smaller (less than 2.5 cm, 1 in). Named for yellow threads of their web shine like gold in sunlight not the color of the spider.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Various species of orb weaving spiders are widely distributed. They exist in the southern United States, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific. Nephila madagascariensis madagascariensis is found on the island of Madagascar and certain parts of Southern Africa. 

Spinning web below

Golden Orb16121279421_89d739a11a_o

DIET IN THE WILD: Eat insects that get caught in their webs, primarily flying insects. They kill their prey with a venomous bite. While painful, a bite from this spider would not seriously hurt humans.

Golden Orb Weaver

LONGEVITY:: Females usually live about a year, and males about 6 mos.

REMARKS: Golden orb spiders weave large, strong webs out of golden-colored silk which can be as big as 2 m across. The silk strands are reputed to be five times stronger than steel and three times more elastic than Kevlar.
The oldest surviving genus of spiders, with a fossilized specimen known from 165 million years ago.

Rainforest, Madagascar

References

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-TC

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608653175263/with/3707840635/

California Academy of Sciences: Madagascar Golden Orb Spider exhibit 2014

 iNaturalist www.inaturalist.org/taxa/49758-Nephila

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida (Arachnids)
Order: Araneae (Spiders)
Infraorder: Araneomorphae (True Spiders)
Family: Theridiidae (Cobweb Spiders)

Genus/species: Latrodectus mactans

Black Widow Spider

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Female is glossy, coal-black color with long, slender legs and round abdomen; her underside usually carries a characteristic red hourglass mark. Adult Female: Approximately 8-13 mm (~1/2 inch) in body length. With legs extended, the female measures about 25-35 mm (1 inch – 1 1/2 inches). Adult Male: Approximately half the size of the female

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: In the U.S. ranges north to New England, south to Florida, Texas, Oklahoma; west to California, and throughout the southwest deserts. Also found in Canada, Mexico, the West Indies, and South America. Found close to the ground, especially dark, sheltered spots, such as under stones, in woodpiles, crevices, barns, outbuildings. Usually not found indoors.

DIET IN THE WILD: Carnivorous, mostly on insects, but also on other small invertebrates. When prey becomes ensnared in the web, black widow wraps it in silken threads and injects venom.

PREDATORS: Probably lives, like most spiders, about one year. Preyed upon by wasps including the muddauber wasps.

Black Widow Spider

REMARKS: Adult males are harmless. Females have a highly venomous bite that rarely kills humans, though young children or the elderly are likely to have severe reactions that can be fatal. Improvements in plumbing have greatly reduced the incidence of bites and fatalities in areas where outdoor privies have been replaced by indoor flush toilets.

Swamp SW06

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TAXONOMY
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Theraphosidae

Genus/species: Lasiodora parahybana

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GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Said to be the third largest spider in the world, this is a large-bodied tarantula with abdomen and legs covered with sensitive, long, and partially pink or salmon-colored hairs. Maximum size: body, 9-10 cm (3.5–4 in); leg span, 20-25 cm (8–10 in).

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: Throughout northeastern Brazil on the tropical forest floor

DIET IN THE WILD: Lie and wait carnivore, eating large crawling insects and other invertebrates, small rodents, lizards, and frogs rarely seen eating birds like newly hatched chicks of ground-dwelling birds. Venom injected by chelicerae that liquefy the kill, which is then sucked in by the mouthparts.
Regardless of its name, the spider is rarely seen eating birds.

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REPRODUCTION: The male spins a small area of silk onto which he deposits his sperm. The sperm is then absorbed into the pedipalps, which during mating are inserted into the genital opening of the female, transferring the sperm, which remains viable. After insemination, the male makes a swift retreat as the much smaller males occasionally become a sacrifice to the female’s need to maintain the nutritional viability of a mother-to-be. The female lays up to 2000 fertilized eggs in a thick, silken sac which she guards fiercely. Young spiderlings are born about 3 weeks later. Voracious feeders, they grow quickly.

PREDATORS: Tarantulas have few enemies except the tarantula hawk wasps. Members of this wasp family use their sting to paralyze species specific tarantulas.

REMARKS: Like most tarantulas and some other spiders, if this spider loses one of its legs, it can regrow the lost appendage.
While not highly aggressive and bites are not fatal to humans (most tarantula bites are similar to a bee sting in toxicity), this big bruiser, because of its long fangs, can inflict a serious wound which one researcher defined as “capable of medically significant mechanical damage”! If pursued by a potential foe, the spider rubs its legs against its abdomen, throwing tiny, barbed hairs that become imbedded in the attacker. The barbs can cause significant irritation, especially if lodged in the eyes or nasal passages.
Venomous

Animal Attractions

flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608653175263/with/6962229601/

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Phylum Arthropoda, Class Arachnida, Order Araneae, Family Theraphosidae

Lasiodora parahybana

DISTRIBUTION: Throughout northeastern Brazil.

HABITAT:  Tropical forest floor

APPEARANCE: Said to be the third largest spider in the world, this is a large-bodied tarantula with abdomen and legs covered with sensitive, long, and partially pink or salmon-colored hairs.   Maximum size: body, 9-10 cm (3.5–4 in); leg span, 20-25 cm (8–10 in).

DIET: Lie and wait carnivore, eating large crawling insects and other invertebrates, small rodents, lizards, and frogs rarely seen eating birds like newly hatched chicks of ground-dwelling birds. Venom injected by chelicerae that liquefy the kill, which is then sucked in by the mouthparts.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: The male spins a small area of silk onto which he deposits his sperm. The sperm is then absorbed into the pedipalps, which during mating are inserted into the genital opening of the female, transferring the sperm, which remains viable. After insemination, the male makes a swift retreat as the much smaller males occasionally become a sacrifice to the female’s need to maintain the nutritional viability of a mother-to-be. The female lays up to 2000 fertilized eggs in a thick, silken sac which she guards fiercely. Young spiderlings are born about 3 weeks later. Voracious feeders, they grow quickly.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Tarantulas have few enemies except tarantula hawk wasps. Members of this wasp family use their sting to paralyze species specific tarantulas. The wasp lays an egg on the tarantula’s abdomen and then seals the spider in its burrow. The wasp larva hatches and feeds on the immobile and doomed tarantula. Males usually die shortly after maturity and mating. Females can live over 20 years in the wild, perhaps significantly longer.

REMARKS: Like most tarantulas and some other spiders, if this spider loses one of its legs and is still in a growth stage, it can regrow the lost appendage,

While not highly aggressive and bites are not fatal to humans (most tarantula bites are similar to a bee sting in toxicity), this big bruiser, because of its long fangs, can inflict a serious wound which one researcher defined as “capable of medically significant mechanical damage”!

If pursued by a potential foe, the spider rubs its legs against its abdomen, throwing tiny, barbed hairs that become imbedded in the attacker. The barbs can cause significant irritation, especially if lodged in the eyes or nasal passages.

flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/6962229021/in/set-72157608653175263/

WORDPRESS SHORTLINK  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-qx

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