Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Spitting Spider Spotted

For a guy who's into nature, I deplore spiders. Actually, I don't really have anything against their existence, I'm just terrified of them. What is it that makes a spider repulsive, yet makes a beetle or dragonfly alluring?

The other day I opened the shower curtain of our much less frequently used second shower and discovered a very interesting arachnid just above the overflow drain. Its markings were unfamiliar, but very interesting.


I'm washing. Do you mind?


I browsed around BugGuide for a while, but didn't have much luck. Actually, I didn't know where to begin. So, I posted an ID request and quickly got an answer (how awesome is that site!). The fellow above is a male Spitting Spider in the genus Scytodes - probably Scytodes thoracica. They get their name from their ability to spit a sticky "glue" from their modified jaws. When they shoot the fluid, they move in a "Z" pattern in order to cover their prey completely. The viscous silk immobilizes their prey and the spider feasts on its bounty. Wild! Some videos of these guys in action can be found here (I had some trouble playing it). Unfortunately, I never got to see this guy in action. He's living elsewhere now.

7 comments:

PA-Birder said...

You are a better person than I as if I had met the spider under such circumstances he probably would of been a dead spider as in my mind they fall under the heading of outside criters only.
Vern

Jude said...

I love spiders. I took a brief spider biology course so I could participate in Colorado's Spider Survey. Last year when I led a nature walk for Cub Scouts, we collected 115 spiders. The unfortunate part was that I had to kill them, so I had 115 spiders in my refrigerator's freezer overnight. I raised a biologist daughter who also loves spiders, but my sons do not share, nor do they understand why we love spiders so much. I find that odd. What's not to love?

Rick said...

Very cool! Spiders give me a faint case of the creeps, but I can tolerate them as long as they stay out of my way. I'll be on the lookout for one of these!
Rick

Patrick Belardo said...

Vern,
I'm with you on that one. :)

Jude,
That spider biology course sounds interesting. Maybe I need to participate in a similar survey to get over my fear. I can't quite wrap my brain around the idea of actively looking for spiders.

Rick,
I hope you find one, but not too close up.

Corey said...

Cool spider and great alliterative title...

Patrick Belardo said...

Thanks for noticing Corey!

Larry said...

I remeber driving back on a 10 hour drive from a fishing trip with one of my buddies.I had been drinking coffee and taking no-doze to stay awake.-I fell asleep and woke up to the sight of a huge wood spider sitting on my leg-I screemed and kicked in such a panic that my friend bumped his head on the windshield and fell out the car as he opened the door.-He had no clue as to what my terror was.