I hope you enjoy taking a closer look at some of the things I find interesting.
- North America (155)
- South America (171)
- Amphibians (10)
- Frogs and Toads (10)
- Arachnids (41)
- Fungi (3)
- Insects (215)
- Ants, Bees, Wasps and Relatives (44)
- Barklice (1)
- Beetles (27)
- Butterflies and Moths (55)
- Cockroaches (2)
- Dragonflies (1)
- Earwigs (1)
- Flies (20)
- Grasshoppers and Relatives (9)
- Mantids (3)
- Net-winged Insects (7)
- Termites (5)
- Thrips (1)
- True Bugs (57)
- Walkingsticks (1)
- Webspinners (1)
- Mammals (2)
- Millipedes (1)
- Polyxenids (1)
- Plants (3)
- Reptiles (13)
- Velvet Worms (3)
- Amphibians (10)
This little salticid has captured a small fly of some sort.
White scales on the chelicerae almost look like a mustache.
This wandering spider in the family Ctenidae was spotted at the base of a large tree.
The large palps leave no doubt that this is a male.
The eye arrangement was my first clue to the family. They also have a deep groove along the mid-line of the carapace, called a fovea, just barely visible in these photos.
I wasn’t able to identify this one any further than family. It’s quite a large spider though. The body measured 25mm (~1″) and with legs it was around 80mm (~3″).
Some species of Ctenidae have a nasty reputation. Suspecting at the time that this was a Ctenid, I kept a respectful distance.
These fearsome looking arachnids have an order to themselves, Amblypygi. Though commonly called tailless whip scorpions or whip spiders, they are neither. Intimidating though they may look, they aren’t dangerous and possess no venom. They are quite timid in fact, and I had to take care not to scare them away while photographing them.
Here’s how you might expect to see one actively moving about, with its oversized first pair of legs outstretched.
That first pair of legs is modified for use as antennae. They wave them about, sensing and probing. While the body of this one measured only 2cm, each one of those antenniform legs was 8cm long!
Only Ted C. MacRae ventured a guess for this most recent identification challenge. He was exactly right, though a bit confused by his source which indicated this species might not occur in Costa Rica. This is indeed Phiale guttata.
The World Spider Catalog lists the distribution for this wide ranging species as Costa Rica to Paraguay. The Global Species Database of Salticidae site lists all the species for Costa Rica, and allowed me to eliminate the possibility of similar spiders in the same genus. There are also some good photos and illustrations there.
If like me you occasionally flip over rocks and such to see what might be lurking beneath, then you’ve no doubt seen things like this:
I’m pretty sure this is the egg sac of some sort of spider. It was underneath a small rotting log.
I usually just carefully put things back the way I found them. Curiousity got the better of me this time. I peeled away the egg sac and carefully opened it. If you’ve ever wondered what’s inside, here’s the answer.
Each one of those eggs are less than a millimeter in diameter. There were probably ten or so.
When I first spotted this female Nephila clavipes, she was positioned rather low in her web. Her background was cluttered and shaded. I prodded her a few times, and as I’d hoped, she retreated to a higher position in her web where I thought I might be able to get a more pleasing background.
Unexpectedly, her quick movements drew the attention of a male that was also hanging out in her vicinity. I’ve read that males prefer to mate when the female is preoccupied with a meal (so they’re less likely to become a meal themselves). Perhaps he mistook her quick retreat as movement toward prey. At any rate, he wasted no time approaching her and getting into a mating position.
I’ve never quite been happy with any of the photos I’ve taken of this species, Nephila clavipes. This photo is no exception. I do like that it captures the gold color of the web, and that at least a few of the leg tufts are in focus.
It’s a shame the spider lost a leg somewhere along the way. The missing leg distracts me every time I look at her.
These spiders really are quite large. This one measured around 30mm, 70mm if you throw in the legs.
See if you can spot the little fly that’s perched on her abdomen.
Argiope spiders are easy to recognize. They sit head down in the center of their webs with their legs paired up. They don’t even bother to hide themselves during the day. They are among a relatively small number of orb weavers that add a decoration to their web, called a stabilimentum.
The form of the stabilimentum may change as the spider grows. Young spiders like this one may create a dense circular pattern as shown here. Older spiders are more likely to create sparser designs in various shapes.