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Funnel web making 'brown widow' spider

 
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PaulFurman



Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: SF, CA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:39 pm    Post subject: Funnel web making 'brown widow' spider Reply with quote

I spent considerable time trying to ID this over at bugguide.net without luck. It looks a lot like some Steatoda but there are many and none seem to make funnel webs. Oh well, maybe it'll help Ken with the arachnophobia desensitiztion thing. I thought I was OK with that but this one really gave me the creeps! I had to knock it out of the plastic pot where it had set up a funnel in and I think that set the mood. There was an egg sac in the nest and (the other guy) opened that up revealing about 50 eggs. As he poured the 1.2mm eggs out into a plastic box, they bounced like little hard marbles!

V/C 125mm APO Macro at about 1x, hand held stacks of several each and the eggs are a stack of 180 with the JML at 6.5x, a very challenging stack because of the subtle white textures, contrast has been maxed out in post.

PS, I need to experiment with some sort of diffuser for this full sun shooting... like a frosted plastic milk jug umbrella or something like that. I've resisted getting into flash.


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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7076
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These are the spiders that really give me the creeps. Long spindly legs, shiny, no hair and big fat abdomens. But of course, that could describe a number of spiders. Just the same, "creepy!" Laughing Great shots of an interesting subject. I have read that they are probably more potent than our Black Widows, I don't know. Think
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PaulFurman



Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: SF, CA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The eggs haven't hatched yet. Would you like me to mail them to you to test that? Shocked actually I think I may have suffocated them in the fairly tight fitting clear plastic box... I certainly didn't want to leave it open though.
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DQE



Joined: 08 Jul 2008
Posts: 1653
Location: near Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting photos.

It's the 2-3 inch black ones that can move VERY fast that still bother me a lot. Instant panic if my wife's pet basement spider suddenly runs across the basement floor towards me, even though it is harmless to people (non-venomous to humans).

I've pretty much gotten desensitized to most others, although we really don't have many poisonous ones in Maine where I live. I am very at ease with the jumpers since they don't seem to be harmful to people and they are so cute in their body language and appearance. My wife even catches flies, etc, to feed them. If she jiggles a dead fly the jumpers will usually eat it, as do the orb weavers (a web-based spider).

When I first began taking macros of jumpers, I could only do it if my wife spotted for me and warned me when a jumper leaped onto my camera (or hair). She'd then try to brush it off of me back onto its environment.

Since then I have become fully desensitized to jumpers and simply lower my head near a flower or bush and let them jump back onto familiar surroundings. I've been amazed at their vision - they have spotted me through a glass outer "storm door" from 4-6 feet away, just by me suddenly appearing the the door and looking out at a wooden walkway handrail where they regularly hunt.

The biggest problem we have now, other than keeping our indoor cats from eating spiders that stray into our house, is in having to watch them catch and eat bumblebees on the flowers we have on our (outdoor) deck. My wife couldn't bear to see her "furry bumblebees" regularly being killed through the sliding glass doors to our deck and gently moved an orb web type of spider to a set of nearby but out-of-sight bushes away from the deck. That way, we sanitized our insect viewing experience.

I have no credible justification for being willing to kill flies to feed jumpers and other spiders but not wanting to see bumblebees killed by the same or similar spiders.

As Rodney King once said, in a different set of circumstances, "Can't we all just get along?" Not sure he would want his words applied to these little animals, though!
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7076
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulFurman wrote:
The eggs haven't hatched yet. Would you like me to mail them to you to test that? Shocked actually I think I may have suffocated them in the fairly tight fitting clear plastic box... I certainly didn't want to leave it open though.


Uh...er...em...no, that will not be necessary, if the written word says so, I will take it as being that which it is. Laughing
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Tesselator



Joined: 27 Mar 2010
Posts: 388
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool (if not a little scary) photos man. Good job!
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PaulFurman



Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: SF, CA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ugh, they hatched!



Stack of 242 frames and the dang thing moved! I thought it was dead, I forgot about these eggs and they must have hatched a couple days ago, after 2 weeks. The whole thing really creeped me out which is probably why I didn't check them often enough. The next day, they have not walked away but are still moving a little when nudged. Ack!

5 micron steps with Nikon CF N Plan 10x 0.30 160/0.17 at ISO 200, 1 sec on D700, 9.5x magnification: 3.8mm wide frame, 1.2mm deep.

Walter Piorkowski has done some fantastic shots of the whole life cycle over in the microscopy section: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10572
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PaulFurman



Joined: 24 Oct 2009
Posts: 595
Location: SF, CA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one in the lower-left moved but they barely move at all, perhaps because they are just in their helpless infant stage as described in Walter's series. Should I be feeding them or something?

Olympus 38mm f/2.8 at f/4, 1 second ISO 200 on the D700. Stack of 60 frames with 40 micron steps. Diffused lighting setup shown here.

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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:15 am    Post subject: Re: Funnel web making 'brown widow' spider Reply with quote

PaulFurman wrote:
I spent considerable time trying to ID this over at bugguide.net without luck. It looks a lot like some Steatoda but there are many and none seem to make funnel webs.

Yes, it looks very much like our British S. triangulosa, whose web catches mostly ants at ground level. Their webs are classified as cobwebs but I wouldn't know where the division between funnel webs and cobwebs might lie.

Harold
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orionmystery



Joined: 29 Jul 2008
Posts: 1323
Location: Malaysia

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice set. I really like the eggs and the spiderlings Smile
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