COLOURFUL & UNIQUE-SHAPED SPIDERS

There are about 40,000 known species of spiders in the world and a lot more are waiting to be discovered. With this very large number, there’s no doubt that spiders are amongst the most popular insects in the world.The Horned Spider (Gasteracantha arcuata)
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Horned spiders, also known as curved spiny spiders or wishbone spiders, belong to the spiny orb-weaver family of spiders. They are native to southeast Asia, however, they are a rare sight. Presumably the horns and spines that these spiders possess make it harder for birds and other predators to swallow them. They are sexually dimorphic, the males are much smaller and lack the giant horns.


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The Arrow-shaped Micrathena Spider (Micrathena sagittata)


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The Arrow-shaped Micrathena spider is found in the eastern United States and throughout Central Amrica. The female has spiney ridges that is said to ward off predators. Males do not have spines and are mostly black with white edges. This is a striking spider with a distinctive arrow-shaped abdomen which is largely yellow, with black depressions above and variable red and black patterning. This species forms orb webs that are low to the ground in both open and dense woods. Spiral strands allow the spider to tread easily on its web.


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The Venusta Orchard Spider (Leucauge)


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The Venusta Orchard spider, whose Latin name venusta means beautiful, is a small (7mm) orb weaver spider that has bright green and silvery-white markings on its body. Some specimens have yellow, orange, or reddish markings. Males are half the size of females. They are known to carry their egg-shaped abdomens proudly in the air.


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The Jumping Peacock Spider (Maratus volans)


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Jumping spiders are often very colourful spiders. The Jumping Peacock spider is not an exception. Male spiders have an iridescent colouring of red, green and blue. Females and the immatures of both sexes are dull, brown drab coloured creatures. Mature spiders are small with a length of between 4 and 5 mm. The male spider has two rounded skin-like flaps on either side of his abdomen that are folded down close against the sides of the body, like a shawl, when not in use. The flaps are used for courtship, he then displays them similar to a peacocks feathers. The spider can be found in Queensland and New South Wales.


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The Marbled Orb Weaver (Araneidae)


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The unique ‘marbling’ pattern of colors on the abdomen, the orange head and black and white legs make this spider visually stunning. Females are twice the size of males and generally stay hidden at the web’s perimeter in a mess of leaves. This spider has many color varieties. Other color varieties include one that is very pale tan or yellow, sometimes with a black spot in the middle of the abdomen.They can be found all over North America.


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Ladybird Spider (Eresus sandaliatus)

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The numbers of the Ladybird spider had shrunk to just 56 in 1994 but now there are about 1,000 in an area of managed heathland in Dorset. The males have a bright orange or vermilion back with four large black spots and two smaller ones, and superficially resemble a ladybird. Females and juvenile males are black and velvety. The attractive ladybird spider is one of the rarest in the UK. Both sexes and immature individuals have obvious large bulbous heads.


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