Spiders and Scorpions

Close-up of a Rain Spider – Palystes superciliosus

What makes people so scared of spiders? Is it their appearance? Is it a fear of being bitten? Or is it just that someone said that spiders are bad and that you should not get near them.
Well here is a close-up of Palystes superciliosus, a common rain spider of the Huntsman spiders of South Africa. Believe it or not, this spider was so placid and probably would not have harmed a fly!
Here is a link to some more information on these spiders:

Rain Spider - Palystes superciliosus

Here is the rest of this beautiful spider. They are pretty harmless, but the bite can be painful due to the size of the fangs (chelicerae) and the venom they possess, which is not medically significant in humans. They normally won’t bite unless stressed or threatend, but will probably warn you by raising its front legs. Awesome spiders.

Rain Spider
And another angle:

Rain Spider - side view

Flatties – Family Selenopidae

Here are a few shots of the Wall Crab Spider, often known as the Flattie spider. Flatties comes from the Family Selenopidae. The wall crab spiders  are members of a group of families collectively called crab spiders because of their laterigrade (sideways-moving) legs. This family consists of about 175 species in four genera, of which Selenops is the best known. The family is primarily tropical with the genus Anyphops confined to Sub-Saharan Africa and the genus Hovops confined to Madagascar. The spiders are very flat and are commonly found on walls or under rocks. They are very quick and very difficult to capture and their coloring makes them often quite difficult to see. All of this family have eight eyes.

This first Flattie was photographed at Ufumene Game Farm, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

flattie spider on rock

The next two photos are the same spider, just a very close macro of its face. It is sitting on top of a drum skin.

flattie on a drum skin


flattie macroThanks to Wikipedia for some of the information used here.


An Eastern Cape Harvestman

We recently went on an outing with The Spider Club of Southern Africa to a place outside Port Alfred called Riet River. Part of the outing was to go to a place nearby called Pig Island. I am not too sure where the name Pig Island came from although it was an interesting and very informative outing to say the least. Whilst on a walk of the area, we came across this little critter, the harvestman. What an awesome looking arachnid.

Harvestman are sometimes called Daddy Longlegs. It is an arachnid related to the spider and has the usual eight legs. They are from the class arachnida and order Opiliones (formerly known as Phalangida). Unlike a spider, a harvestman has long, stiltlike legs and a segmented abdomen, but has no silk glands. They can also run pretty fast. They do not have venom glands or fangs. Harvestmen have tiny mouthparts that allow them to grind up their food which consists of insects and plants. Harvestmen do not bite which means they are totally harmless to humans. Some harvestmen can, however, give off a bad odor from their stink glands if they are disturbed.

Awesome Green Jumping Spider

Here is a beautiful green jumping spider. I believe it to be of the family Salticidae and of the Genus Thyenula. The species is probably juvenca. This male was found in my back yard in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and was quite a challenge to photograph as it was more interested in jumping onto my lens and leaving its silk strands all over it, that hunting for its next meal. These jumpers are supposed to be a  ground-dwelling species and  live in subtropical forests and savanna.
Thyenula juvenca male

Bark Spider – Caerostris sexcuspidata

Bark Spider

I am not going to say too much about this spider as I have given a pretty good explanation of it on a post a few weeks ago. You can find the information here.

I was trying out a flash guide that I made from one I saw somewhere on the internet. These are the resultant pics of this spider with this flash guide.

Here is a macro of its ‘face’. A stunning looking spider, close up.

Bark Spider - Caerostris sexcuspidata

….. and another of the same spider in its web later on in the evening.

Bark Spider - Caerostris sexcuspidata

Another one taken at van Stadens Flower Reserve

Bark spider

And one off my wall at home

Bark Spider

This was yet another willing spider to sit still for me to take a shot. Thank you Nature…

Bark Spider

These pictures were taken in my back yard with a Canon 7D with a Tamron 90mm macro lense and a 580EX II Speedlite flash attached to this guide:


Jumping Spider Macro

This jumping spider macro is a really close up shot of a spider from the Salticidae family. This family resides in the spider order Araneae. and belong to the class Arachnida.
The shot was taken with a Tamron 90mm Macro lens with a Raynox DCR250 attached to it. The problem with this combination is that the depth-of-field is so small that you have to really make sure to take the shot in focus. This shot was taken at f16 to get as much depth-of-field as possible with this lens combination.

Jumping spider macro

South African Bark Spider

Bark Spiders are orb-web spiders. They construct webs up to 1.5 meters in size stretching from tree to tree. They are very well camouflaged spiders mimicking the colour and shapes of bark brilliantly. Bark Spiders are nocturnal. This shot was take just before the sun was about to set.
There are four species report from southern Africa namely: Caerostris corticosa, Caerostris mitralis, Caerostris sexcuspidata and Caerostris vinsonii.

Caerostris corticosa:
Caerostris corticosa occurs away from forest and appears to be an arid to fynbos species found in Botswana, the Northern and Western Cape with a record for Pretoria. At Grootvadersbos Nature reserve it was found to be common in burnt fynbos with webs spread between dead branches about 1.5-2metres above the ground. No spiders were found in the adjacent forest some 100-200metres away. It was not as common in unburnt fynbos. The egg sacs has a yellowish tinge and the spiderlings are black. The adult females were all a dark grey and no males are known.

Caerostris mitralis:
Caerostris mitralis is found in Mozambique and Kwazulu/Natal in South Africa.

Caerostris sexcuspidata:
Caerostris sexcuspidata, although nocturnal, can be found on her web in shaded forested areas during the day. This is the most widespread species occurring south of the 5° North (central and east Africa) It is the common species in South Africa and the species with the most variations in abdomen shape.

Caerostris vinsonii:
Caerostris vinsonii occurs from central Africa to Botswana, Mozambique and Kwazulu/Natal in South Africa.

This information was courtesy of Norman Larsen. Bark Spider

Portia Jumping Spider

Portia Spiders are from the family Salticidae which contains the jumping spiders. Portia is a genus of jumping spider which feeds on other spiders (araneophagic). They are remarkable for their hunting behaviour it seems they are capable of learning and problem solving. Portias often hunt in ways that seem intelligent. Their favorite prey seems to be web-building spiders between 10% and 200% of the spiders size. These are also known as the Dandy Jumping Spider. This little one was found in my garden in Port Elizabeth.

Portia Jumping Spider

White Crab Spider on a Pink Flower

Crab Spiders are from the family Thomisidae which consists of six sub families; Thomisinae, Bominae, Stiphropodinae, Stephanopinae, Strophiinae and Dietinae. Crab Spiders will live in and up trees, under bark, on or under rocks and stones, on flowers and leaves and on grass. Crab Spiders are great at ambushing their prey and don’t spin webs. They will sit patiently waiting for their prey to come to them and will then pounce on it. Their venom is potent to insects and it can kill a honey bee within seconds of the bee being bitten.

White Crab Spider

Mygalomorph Spider

Mygalomorph spiders are from a group including more than 2,600 described species, classified into over 300 genera and 15 families. Mygalomorphs include tarantulas (also called baboon spiders) and trapdoor spiders, but many other distinctive taxonomic groups exist. Most Mygalomorphs are relatively large, long-lived (15 to 30 years), ground dwelling spiders – the largest spiders in the world are in fact mygalomorphs. They have very long spinnerets and make messy silky webs. This particular spider is a diplurid, a sheet web spider and the genus is Allothele. She was found hiding under a rock at Koffylaagte Game Lodge.

Mygalomorph Spider

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