April 7, 2015

Martha O'Kennon

It was another big spider week. By big I mean lots - most of them were less than 3 mm<. I haven't identified them yet. I think what I will do is: as I manage to identify them, I will try to go back to the blog where they appeared and share with you what I've found out.

This one resembles one that bugguide had from Washington State. I suspect it is a coincidence that their species looks so similar. Later in the week I found another with a superficial resemblance - there must be quite a lot of variation. Of the last two, one is from above, the other from almost the rear. All were about 3-4 mm.

g This next pair may be female and male of the same species - or not. Whatever the case, I learned something both interesting and amusing today. I was trying to identify the right-most spider by typing in things like "black spider big eyes". Nothing. And when I looked and looked, I couldn't find ANY spider with these big google-eyes. I changed the search to "black spider big palps". Nothing. Then I tried google. There was a picture of a spider with enormous google-eyes. It explained that male spiders leak their sperm into the palps and they blow up like water balloons. I think it is so that the male can sneak up on an otherwise occupied female and quickly transfer the sperm before she can turn around and have dessert. There are a lot of jokes that come to mind. I'll let you hazard some.

These next few spiders are also unidentified (by me). The first is the larges one I've seen yet - almost 6 mm. The second was tiny - less than 3 mm. Resembles the black ones above except for its brownish stripes.

This next one is a kind of crab spider (Ozyptila) - it's turned around in what looks like a defensive stance. Then comes one called a running crab spider. It really ran back and forth to avoid the papparazzi. But most amazing is its abdomen, which looks like a mask. Since it is missing quite a few legs (not my fault), maybe it is worried but it really had no trouble getting around. As soon as the screen test was over, it scurried right off.

I don't know if I ever showed you this "long-jawed" spider, which I would have called "long-armed". They make an orb high up in the asters that grow by the pond, and then make a loooong strand heading out across the pond and down to the other side. There they presumably catch little bugs near the water.
A couple of days ago I found a strange thing, legs all pointing in one direction. In the first picture, it seems to have its body encased in something tubelike (it is partly pulled out), but in the next picture, it seems to have got out completely. Note added april 6, 2016. We now know that this mystery spider is simply a young long-jawed spider, like the one in the pictures above!

On a similar tack, at about twilight, I saw this odd case made of tiny round stones with something that seems to be wriggling out of it. Unfortunately I had to run in to ansewer the phone and when I came back out an hour or so later, it was quite dark and the jeweled case was empty. Was this the birth of a stonefly? Apparently they get their name from the tiny stones they use to make their larval case.


More ants! The first is a little brown ant, about 2 mm long. The second is a larger brown one, about 6 mm. Note its two-bubble waist.

Beetles! The first is a little gold one, about 2 mm long. Same for the size of the second one, sorry about the fuzziness.

Omigosh, still more creatures. Something resembling a katydid nymph, very ghostlike with ragged leg decorations. Something similar?

Flies!! A lovely orange one about 6 mm long, and a big black one.

Bugs!! One with moire-like patterns. Not a bug, but let's end off with a nice water strider, which has just returned to the pond. It walks on water with 6 little surface-tension paddies. Cute huh, but actually a fiendish little guy, about 10 mm, with a beak that he uses to "make a slurpy" out of his prey. ARRRRRRRRRRRGGGG. See you next week with more characters from the bright and the dark side.

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2015