It’s mine, I tell you.


Today’s critter is a Wolf Spider with a no-nonsense attitude.

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Usually wolf spiders that dwell in holes or funnel webs beat a quick retreat into their holes when a camera lens comes looking. Not this guy. He’s recently (?) dragged in a dragonfly, and he’s not about to give it up to anyone. Not without a fight, at any rate.

Their eyesight is not exactly as good as that of jumping spiders, but I’ve never had one of those get into a staring contest with my camera before. Standing over a kill, mammals usually growl under their breath. Spiders just give you a look.

Oh, and I’ll probably be off on a little trip with the folks by the time you read this! Heading down to Mysore and thereabouts, there are a bunch of old temples that have slipped under my radar, and then there are some that I haven’t checked out since I was 10. Follow me on Twitter and keep an eye on my other photo blog It’s a long way to Thipparalli if you want to know more.

Cheerio. Tomorrow’s post has been uploaded as well. Fear not, you shall have it in your inbox / facebook wall feed / google reader / source of choice. 🙂

Continue reading “It’s mine, I tell you.”

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It’s mine, I tell you.

Denim goes well with spiders.


At least once every week, a furtive little spider hops around on my desk, full of nervous energy. At least, I manage to catch him in the act once a week or so. The delightful little fellow is a male “Larger Housefly Catcher“, Plexippus paykulli.

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The only way to catch him on the camera is to literally herd him in towards the lens: I block his forward direction of motion with his other hand, some times hit the surface hard so that he spends at least a second standing still. Jumpy little bugger though, he’ll jump on my hand or on the lens unannounced if he doesn’t get his way.

Also, I don’t know if you can tell, but he’s perched on my jeans in this particular picture. 🙂

I think one of the reasons that Jumping Spiders appear so emotive in the appearances, giving off strong vibes of apparent curiosity and innocence is because of the way their eyeballs work. Unlike vertebrates (and like most of their invertebrate cousins,) their eyeballs are fixed in nature – they cannot move around independent of their heads.

While most other invertebrate eyes have large fields of vision, the Jumping spider eyes have a rather narrow field: which means that they need to turn not just their head but almost their entire body in whichever direction they want to see. And voila. The spider becomes more emotive. 🙂

Hat-Tip to Joseph KH Koh’s lovely A Guide to Singapore Spiders for ID help. It’s the only excellent tropical spider guide that I’ve found till date.

Continue reading “Denim goes well with spiders.”

Denim goes well with spiders.

The Golden Dragon wanders.


Today’s offering is a golden dragonfly, called the Wandering Glider, Pantala flavescens. I may have tweaked the saturation a little, but believe you me, that was one richly coloured dragonfly. Turns out that it’s also considered the most widely distributed dragonfly in the world. Pity that it has so few good photos then. Tell me if I’m wrong, but the photo in this post is better than anything on the wiki page.

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And even if I say so myself, I have better ones still up my sleeve. 🙂

Now all I need to do is follow this up with a picture of a silver stag and a copper star. And then we can all go Dance.

Continue reading “The Golden Dragon wanders.”

The Golden Dragon wanders.

You don’t need to be human to steal.


Today’s post, like many others before it, starts with an Argiope spider. Though they are quite interesting in their appearance, you’re likely to be quite bored of them by now, if you have been following this blog for any length of time. In fact, the photo just below is rather mediocre compared to what I usually share.

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But wait. The Argiope is not the only thing seen in that picture, is it? No, there’s a second, smaller spider in the top right corner, messing around with a dead insect wrapped and kept as leftovers.

Turns out that the second spider is a Dewdrop spider, genus Argyrodes. And it’s up to no good. Take a look at the collage below.

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Most orb-web spiders trap and kill prey when they find them, and they wrap them up in silk and tie them on their web to one side, pretty much like what you can see in these pictures. And the Dewdrop spiders steal them!

Dewdrop spiders build small webs quite close to those of larger spiders, such as this one. Often their web is in a plane parallelt to the larger spider’s, but set to one side. They also sneak in a couple of strands between the two webs for ease of access. And when they chance upon a morsel small enough for them to nick, voila. Now you see the silk ball, now you don’t. The Sting glowed blue when Sam rescued Frodo from Shelob, the Argyrodes just shines silver.

Kleptoparasitism is the technical word for it, parasitism by theft. It seems to be all the rage in the animal kingdom. The Arachnid world has dewdrop spiders, the birds have skuas, and we humans have pimps, child peddlers and other scum of the earth.

Viva la Evolución.

Continue reading “You don’t need to be human to steal.”

You don’t need to be human to steal.

The Mottled King.


Ah. Another long night. This time, it included getting well and thoroughly soaked in the rain (while driving the scooter home, thanks for asking). Good fun though.

I have been dabbling with a few too many things off late, and I’m afraid The Daily Critter’s suffered a little as a result: often I end up getting to it too late in the day to do anything really good.

However. I’ll actively try and avoid that from tomorrow onwards – and as a pledge I’ll start off with a good post tomorrow. Y’know. Something with an actual story of sorts.

Remember the Queen of Thorns? A beautiful, big, green spider that had made its home in the tulsi plants in front of my door? Well, during one of the heavy spells of rain last month, the lynx spider skedaddled, leaving only what photographs I’d taken, behind.

Today I saw this little moth seated in the same place, open to the rain and uncaring. I absolutely love the colour patterns and am cristening it the Tiger Moth until someone tells me otherwise. The little droplet of water on its head is like the pièce de résistance cherry on a very unusual cake.

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Continue reading “The Mottled King.”

The Mottled King.

How to Cure Your Arachnophobia.


It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log. Savage Chickens talks about curing your fear of spiders. Weeks 1 and 2 can be replaced by going through all 70something posts of The Daily Critter.

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I’m also quite pleased to say that I am aware of at least half a dozen people who have progressed to Week 4 and Week 5 after they started following this blog. w00t! Help me make a full dozen, why don’t you?

Continue reading “How to Cure Your Arachnophobia.”

How to Cure Your Arachnophobia.