A cutie for Mrs Tilton


I heard a rumor that yesterday was Mrs Tilton’s birthday, so here’s a belated gift: a pretty picture of an exotic Brazilian salticid batting its eyelashes at the viewer.

(Take that, Cute Overload!)

Comments

  1. says

    I guess if a cuttlefish can have eyelids than the spider can have eyelashes ((sigh))

    Hold on a minute while I add all this information to Wikipedia…

  2. ssjessiechan says

    My gracious! Those little hair-like spines on the top of her head are gorgeous, is she wearing mascara?

  3. KevinC says

    I see at least four but spiders can have up to 8 eyes and some are rather small so she (he) may have more we can not see.

  4. MarkR says

    Wait a minute! How many eyes does that little guy have?

    I think spiders have either 6 or 8, depending on the species.

  5. says

    Spider eyes have lenses and retinas like human eyes (as opposed to the compound eyes that insects have). Their lenses typically have very low F numbers (good for night vision), but their retinas have a low density of light sensitive cells, so the resolution is very poor.

  6. Gray Lensman says

    What a beautiful adaptation! I have always thought that we should be very grateful that these fearless predators are not as large as a tomcat.

  7. Keanus says

    Are you sure he isn’t a character from Sesame Street that got lost in Brazil? I swear he looks like the Cookie Monster’s first cousin.

  8. says

    this is one of those mixed-reaction stimuli. you know, “JESUS FUCK oh actually it is kind of cute sort of isn’t it…”

    i love biology.

    Lepht

  9. says

    Ooh, thanks, PZ! She’s a knockout!

    Spanish Inquistor @5: probably a she, to judge by the pedipalps. The “furriness” makes it hard to see, though, and it’s possible the characteristic “boxing glove” palps of the male are concealed beneath the “fur”.

    Sam, Kevin, Mark /& Eric @8-11,

    she has eight eyes, and I’m pretty sure you can see all of them in this photo. That is, you can see the anterior lateral and median eyes (the AMEs are the huge ones that characterise salticids and make them seem so “human”); and you can sort see where the posterior eyes are. (The PMEs are at the corners of the top of her “head”. The PLEs of salticids are vestigial, mere pindots; I’m guessing they are among the small black dots between PME and ALE.)

    Most spiders have eight eyes though there are some groups with six eyes. (In almost all cases, six-eyed spiders are missing the AMEs, which are structured differently to the other six.) There are much rarer examples of spiders with further reductions: four eyes, two or (in some cave spiders) none. I’ve never heard of any with more than eight, or with an odd number of eyes.

    Eric is generally right that spiders’ eyes aren’t very good. The salticids are one of the few exceptions, though; those AMEs produce an image much sharper than what most other spiders see.

  10. says

    Ah, just noticed that “click for larger image” thing… Yes, with the larger image you can definitely see all eight eyes. The tiny PLEs are at 11:00 and 1:00, respectively, to the right and left ALEs, and about 4-5 mm away from them, assuming we have the same screen resolution.

  11. D Cates says

    For #5 and #9.
    I don’t know the species offhand, but based on the pedipalps that’s a female.

  12. John Scanlon, FCD says

    Is it anthropomorphic to love salticids but find practically all other spiders creepily untrustworthy, or just the fruits of experience?
    The only time I ever felt aversion on meeting a salticid was when I was pruning a colony of Green Tree Ants (those ones that weave together leaves into football-sized nests using their larvae as glue guns) that was invading the house, in Townsville (Qld, Australia). The ants have got a bit of a nip but not much sting, though you have to be careful not to be overwhelmed by numbers (in Townsville you do not lean against a tree trunk to relax), but the upside is they make a tasty appetiser or ingredient for curries, tasting of lemon grass and vinegar…
    Anyway, while cutting some infested branches away from the eaves I nearly put my hand on what seemed to be a gargantuan ant – over an inch long. (There are plenty of ants that size where I grew up in Sydney – various species of Myrmecia – with which one learns to avoid intimate contact; though none of those are green AFAIK) I flinched so badly I lost sight of it and nearly fell off the roof, but later discovered (somewhere… which I leave as an exercise for the reader) that there are indeed large salticid mimics of tree ants. Wish I’d got a closer look.
    I used to enjoy watching a different (smaller) species jumping around my desk at work, until a couple of years ago when a new co-worker went and surface-sprayed the room without thinking to ask first. Still none around. Humans are toxic, even if some of them do have nice eyes.

  13. says

    John @20:

    Is it anthropomorphic to love salticids but find practically all other spiders creepily untrustworthy

    Not at all, I’ve long noticed than even many inveterate spider-haters like salticids. Wrote about it once, in fact. The core of my theory (which is mine) is that we perceive salticid features the same way we perceive the neotenous features of a child.

  14. AaronInSanDiego says

    Eyes? I thought they just had spidey-sense, which tingles when bad guys are around.

  15. says

    Is it anthropomorphic to love salticids but find practically all other spiders creepily untrustworthy, or just the fruits of experience?

    No, just a little bigoted. A salticid stole my girlfriend once. A week later my car broke down outside of a theridiid’s home. She invited me to dinner with her family while I waited for the tow-truck.

    It just goes to show you: you can’t judge a book lung by its cover.

    Happy (belated) B-day, Mrs. Tilton!

  16. LKL says

    I like salticids because of the way that they interact. They clearly look at you, and adjust their behavior to your presence. I like the way the gnash their little pedipalps together, and how they pause to measure up a jump, and the dramatic way they finally zing across the gap.

    I had a salticid ‘stalk’ my hand as I sat on a bench once; I have no idea what its true motive was, but it continued to move towards my hand even when I moved it several times, and it always stayed just ‘out of sight’around the corner of a board.