CHIN'S NATURE CORNER ~ PHOTO GALLERY ~ SPIDERS ON THE WEB
A crab spider (possibly a Misumenops sp.) with insect prey (a bee) on water jasmine flower.
Spiders on the Web
SPIDERS can be found just about anywhere in Malaysia ... inside houses or buildings, especially those that
are neglected or abandoned,
in the garden or backyard, in the hedges, in the rice fields or among vegetation beside ponds and lakes,
in the belukar,
or overgrown patch, and in the forest fringe or even deep in the forest. There are spiders which look
obviously like spiders, and spiders in various forms of disguises ... namely spiders that look like
bits of forest detritus, spiders which look like ants, and even
spiders that mimic bird droppings like the one in this photo. The Bird-dung Crab Spider (Phrynarachne species)
not only looks like bird excrement splattered on a leaf but also smells like it. Thus it is not only protected from
birds which will avoid preying on it but is itself a lure for insects, such as butterflies, which feed on bird
droppings. Here are some of the spider species that I have photographed during my forest trekking days.
Multi-Coloured St. Andrew's Cross Spider (Argiope versicolor, Family Araneidae) ~
This spider weaves a web marked with distinctive zig-zag bands of white silk
(partly seen in the lower right corner of this photo). It is also known as the Signature
Spider because of this. The spider holds its legs together in pairs, making it look like a creature with
four legs instead of eight.
Crab Spider (Family Thomisidae) ~ Crab spiders catch their prey by ambush. Often aided by camouflage
colouring, they lie in wait on flower heads for nectar-feeding insects. Like this brush-footed
butterfly (called the Leopard, Phalanta phalantha), these insects may be much larger than the spider
but they are soon paralysed with a venomous bite from the spider's fangs.
Jumping Spider (Family Salticidae) ~ Unlike web- weaving spiders which trap flying insects in their
webs, or crab spiders which ambush their prey, jumping spiders actively hunt for food.
This one had just caught a mango hopper (Idioscopus nitidulus, a species of leafhopper
belonging to the family Cicadellidae).
Spider eats insect ~ Whoopy! This Spiny-backed Spider (Gasteracantha arcuata) proceeded to stun its prey by
injecting it with venom from its fangs, a winged insect,
perhaps a moth, that it had captured in its web. The Spiny-backed Spider has projections which curve over its back
like a pair of horns. It belongs to the Family Araneidae.
Spider eats spider ~ Jumping spiders prey not only on insects but also on other spider species. This
one was seen with a Spiny-backed Spider (Gasteracantha arcuata) it
had captured. The Spiny-backed Spider has projections which curve over its back
like a pair of horns. It is also known as the Horned Spider.
Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) ~ If you see a spider carrying an egg-sac under its abdomen, as in the photo
above, you can be sure that it's a female wolf spider. The egg-case is attached to the spinnarets and appears
quite round. The newly hatched baby spiders may also be seen riding on the mothers back until their first moult.
The Kerengga Ant-like Jumper (Myrmarachne plataleoides)
There are many ant-mimicking species among the jumping spiders (Salticidae). So far I managed to photograph only
the Kerengga Ant-like Jumper. This species mimics the ferocious
which is locally known as kerengga
(in Malay). The female spider (left
) is a
near-perfect copy of the ant, but the male's disguise is somewhat spoilt by his large
chelicerae (jaws) which protrude from the head like an oversized nose.