More Argiope for your viewing pleasure. This is the same Argiope aemula from last week. This snap is far from technically perfect: parts of it are overexposed, the depth of focus is too shallow or too deep based on how you look at it, the focus is off… but I love it.
The bokeh; the beyond-focus stabilimentum on the bottom right, wriggling down like a pale worm; the thin strand of silk still attached to the spinneret; the near-halo emanating from the spider’s body; all of it.
Bonus: A dorsal picture of the Oval spider. As I’d mentioned before, the aemula can be identified far more easily from this angle.
Continue reading “Hanging by a thread.”
Last week, I had put up a picture of the Green Lynx Spider, the Peucetia viridana that I had come across in the Tamil countryside, some six months ago.
What I did not mention is that now, six months on, I am erm… raising one on my own. Extending my esteemed patronage, more like. You see, I have this little set of Tulasi plants growing just outside my front door. (Also known as tulsi, Ocimum tenuiflorum, or Holy Basil, for those unfamiliar with India.) For whatever reason, these tulasi plants seem to provide an excellent haunt for many spiders, and in my time I have observed and photographed four of them to date. The little green lynx being the most recent.
I wasn’t planning on introducing any of them till much later (I do have a whole stash of old photos to present, after all,) but this I had to show.
Amidst all the thunder and rain in Bangalore tonight, I saw the little critter climb up to the tip of the plant, turn around, pose for the portrait, scuffle about till it found the most invisible of silk strands that took it into the night.
Continue reading “Pause for effect.”
I realised that I have a few macro pictures that pre-date my obsession with spiders and all things many-legged. I took snaps of this butterfly(?) just outside my house back in August last year. Very colourful, I’d found three “freshly hatched” butterflies, they were still struggling a bit with their flight, and I even found their cocoon shells (see picture 3).
Though very colourful, I’m still not convinced that they’re butterflies though. Usually, butterflies have their dorsal (the “top face”) face of the wings all colourful, ventral not so much. Here, ventral’s bright and the dorsal’s a pale white (picture 2). My verdict – moth! And I love moths.
Continue reading “A lack of colour.”
Haven’t got much to say today folks, either to your relief or your ruin. Maybe it’s just my sleep-deprived self, but I’m seeing faces on beetles now. Maybe you are as well.
And they’re sorta starting to look like Hitler now. I should go sleep.
Continue reading “Mein Führer, it can fly!”
Butterflies are pretty and all, but I’m quite partial to moths. When they’re not all over my laptop screen, that is.
When seen during the day, moths are often far more restful, pretty okay with just sitting around. Unlike the adult-onset hyperactive twits that the butterflies seem to be. This particular moth (damned if I can identify even one of them,) posed for as long as I was shooting, allowing me to get within a couple of centimetres without getting fluttery.
Also, is it just me or are we all a bit weird when it comes to hair and fur? A furry dog or a cat – so warm and fuzzy. A hairy spider gives us the creeps. Sure, I’m not asking you to pet one here (although I suppose people do do that with tarantulas,) but its a point of principle. Let’s end this hypocrisy with hair and fur! Embrace your inner furry.
Continue reading “Takers for moth pelts, anyone?”
Have I mentioned before that I love spiders? And this one in particular. Spiders are intelligent, matriarchal and so very zen. Oh, and they’re hella pretty. The males are ready to lay down their lives for them, you know.
The Daily Critter proudly presents the Green Lynx Spider, Peucetia viridana. There’s not much I can say here, really. The lovely colours tell you all.
Continue reading “Afterglow.”
We return to the Argiope spiders today, with this ventral shot of a different species in the genus, the Argiope aemula or the Oval St.Andrew’s Cross Spider. Unlike the distinctive pentagonal abdomens of their cousins the anasujas, the aemula spiders have an oval abdomen, making them easily distinguishable. The shape and the unique patterns are more obvious on the dorsal side of the abdomen though. When fully mature, the aemula females are also a bit larger in size than their cousins.
Once you get past how hairy the spider is, you may notice how vivid and colourful the spider is. After all, if bald can be beautiful, surely the hirsute stand a chance as well! The pink/maroon opening that you see at the tip of the abdomen are the spider’s spinnerets, and the little dark protrusion at the base of the abdomen are the lung openings. The head (displayed at the bottom) is covered by pedipalps, which function as a spider’s hands. Usually, the most relaible way of determining the sex of a spider is by observing the pedipalps… they are usually slender and tapering in females, and dark and enlarged in the otherwise punier males.
There’s overcompensation everywhere, I suppose.
Continue reading “X marks the spot.”
Snails are slugs with social security, really. Lugging around their vulnerability reduction assets around. Pity it does so little against parasites.
I dread the day when new breeds of parasites fail to shock us. We found this little snail on top of a windblown peak in the rainforests of Coorg last monsoon, slowly making its way up a desolate stretch of wet rock.
This particular snail seems to have suffered the misfortune of picking up a few larvae along the way somewhere. At best, these larvae are like little leeches, sucking the lifeforce out of the snail until dropping off, fat and satisfied. At worst, these are larvae that’ll force their way into the poor critter, hijack its admittedly primitive brain and use it like a puppet. (I wish I was exaggerating here. The latter video is not for the faint of heart.)
So remember, kids. The next time you visit leech country, compassion is key. These snails have leeches of their own and few repellents at hand. With fewer hands to use them.
Continue reading “Fractal sluggery.”
Continuing from yesterday, this is a ventral shot of the same juvenile Argiope spider.
You can make out the the spinneret of the spider, the source of all its silk, coloured red at the tip of its abdomen. The spider also seems to be paralysing and killing a hapless prey, mostly a fly of some sort, one that has been completely trussed up.
Continue reading “Sign of the Cross. (2/2)”
We go back to the first species pictured here at TheDailyCritter, the Argiope anasuja.
Juvenile Argiope spiders are very colourful to look at, having legs and a body of ochre, with just a little translucence that betrays the youthfulness of these individuals.
With age, the patterns and the colours on the abdomen become more striking, and together with the unique arrangement of their eight legs, the two are often the defining features of an Argiope genus spider.
Do take note of the peculiar pentagonal shape of the abdomen, a distinctive feature of many related species. The shape and the patterns of the abdomen are the only ways of identifying the species, barring a microscopic examination of its dental records. There’s still a chance that the spider could belong to the catenulata species, and not anasuja.
Continue reading “Sign of the Cross. (1/2)”