For many years I have been intrigued with the very small spiders that live around the porch light and back door frame at my home in Irving, TX. Now that I have the SEM Lab at Eastfield, I can finally get a good look at them and classify them.
In fact, I may have taken too good of a look and have dozens of images to post to this blog. For this first installment I will post the images taken with my point and shoot camera and those taken with the dissecting scope in the SEM Lab.
|Lots of cobwebs covered in prey insects. These spiders love the overhangs from the sections of aluminum siding.|
|Red arrow indicates the spider in its web which is full of prey.|
|I got this little spider out of hiding by touching it. |
It fell downward on an escape thread and then held very still.
Scale above spider shows 1mm gradations.
|Egg sac spun by adult spider.|
|Top corner of door frame. The red arrow indicates the spider - blue arrows indicate egg sacs.|
(I can also see that I need to do some caulking.)
|While in the collecting vial overnight, the spider spun a cobweb. |
This image shows the sticky droplets that help capture prey.
|Well hello there! A first portrait.|
The spider has been preserved in 70% propanol with a little glycerol added
|Pedipalps with claws visible. You can also see the chelicera and fangs.|
|Side view showing downward facing spinnerets and narrow pedicel that connects the prosoma and opisthosoma.|
|Spiders exchange gases via a highly folded book lung. |
I got lucky with the light and was able to photograph the book lung as indicated by the black arrow.
|Spiders spin an egg sac to contain their eggs while they develop. |
I collected two egg sacs to image. Notice the little spiderling outside of the egg sac (red arrow).
If you are interested in doing spider work let me recommend some books.
- How to Know the Spiders by B.J. Kaston, 0697048993 This is the classic from 1978 and I would suggest beginning with this book since it is inexpensive. Updates to the book are available online.
- The Biology of Spiders by Rainer Foelix, 3rd Ed., 0199734828 Not an identification guide, but will tell you so everything you want to know about spiders.
- Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual by Cushing and Ubick, 0977143902 This guide is Kaston on steriods. Pricey, but well worth it for identifying spiders.
Scanning Electron Microscope Lab Coordinator