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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


One longjaw (background) preparing to eat a dead or paralyzed longjaw(foreground). Cannibalism isn't really that strange in spiders, it's one of the reasons that we can't harvest spider silk like we harvest caterpillar silk. But there is something weird about this scene.

I'm not an expert, but the spider in the foreground has small pedipalps and what appears to be a large, hardened epigynum. I think this spider is a female. The spider in the background has large palps (which are used to deposit sperm into the body of the female). The background spider is also smaller, especially in the abdomen. This seems to be a male.

Why is a male eating a female? Are they different species?  Posted by Picasa


The D said...

I love these close up pictures, such great quality. The previous post with the web is awesome.

Hypatia said...

Thanks! This is my little series on long jaws. I'd never realized just how common they were until this year. I have four or five webs in a three foot square area of my flower garden. Pretty spiders. If you enjoy this particular spider, I have a portrait in my June archive you might like.