Monday, January 12, 2009

Mabel Orchard Spider

I shot this Mabel Orchard spider while on my meetup in Ft Desoto. These spiders are really tiny, and it's the first time I've ever gotten a shot decent enough to print.

While this one isn't perfect, I like it anyway. I'd probably give it a 4 out of 5 stars if I were to rank it. I'd like to have seen a little more detail where his eyes are.

Mabel Orchard Spiders (leucauge mabelae) are in the Large-jawed Orb Weaver family (Tetragnathidae). They are easily recognized by their unusually large, powerful jaws, or chelicerae. They have 8 eyes and 3 claws on each tarsus. These spiders are only 1/2". Mabel Orchard spiders can be found in woodland edges and shrubby meadows from New England to Florida and west to Texas and Nebraska.

This species hangs below its web until prey is detected, or waits on a stem nearby with 1 leg in contact with a web strand.

Orchard spiders differ from other large-jawed spiders in possessing a small plate underneath thath protects the opening of the female sex organs.
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