Thursday, 20 April 2017

A devil-horned spider


Of all the wildlife and living creatures I saw during my recent trip to Costa Rica, this spider has to be the weirdest and most fascinating. It's an Arrowhead Micrathena, and it's a female.

The guide we had for our visit to Manuel Antonio National Park, on the Pacific coast, spotted it and made sure we saw it close up, both with our eyes (it was close to the path) and then an enlarged version through the scope he carried with him. It's quite small and we were able to get close to it.

At first I couldn't make out which was the spider and which, as I imagined, was its prey, as I thought it had caught a large insect. But no, Andres our guide assured me that it was 100% spider, and that the two horns at the end of its body aren't something it's caught. 

What was also interesting is that this particular spider spins a web with no centre. Instead of there being a central point in the web, there is a hole. The spider sits in the hole, its legs clinging to the sides, and through the hole it has access to both sides of the web. We speculated on how it began spinning its web - this one was large, vertical and the silk threads looked strong - without the usual central starting point.

Fascinating.

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