The weather is awful outside, and I'm still recovering from a nasty fever midweek, so I thought I'd try the new lens on our resident long-legged friend - thats been hanging upside down in the corner of the kitchen ceiling for a week or so now.
Kitchen ceilings are the favourite habitat for these remarkable spiders. They used to inhabit cellars (some still do) but central heating is always a preferred option for them.
You'll have seen these tiny-bodied spiders I'm sure - especially if you live in the south of the UK - its a little cold for them the further north you go.
They start out life almost transparent, and slowly grow and take on a light brown hue, but their legs remain so thin that these appear transparent. Ours (above) is a young Pholcus phalangioides, (their latin name), but she (her pedipalps are not oversized, like the males' "boxing gloves") is slowly taking on a brown hue and growing.
These spiders are interesting in that they eat pretty well anything, living that is. They'll eat tiny mites right through to HUGE House Spiders that absolutely dwarf them in size.
At the bottom of this post is a clip from you-tube showing a battle between a House Spider and a relatively larger (compared to ours) Cellar Spider.
Is it true that the Cellar Spider's poison is VERY potent indeed? -( some say the most potent in relation to its size, of all our native, established arachnids).
That is an urban myth however - based on the fact that these spiders eat larger spiders. The truth is, their venom is not that strong at all - they're just better at catching prey.
Our Cellar spider in the kitchen is still very young and very, very small. Her abdomen is about half the size of a match head - I wanted to post a photo and show you the power (again) of this new lens. You can clearly see her eyes, and even the hairs on her legs!
Her eyes are quite interesting. She has 3 "groups" of eyes, (it is not clear in my photographs however). 2 groups of 3 eyes (in each of those 2 groups) (in the spot where you'd expect to find eyes), and 1 group of 2 "together-eyes" between and below the other 2 groups.
Wait until I find and photograph a nice big House Spider. You'll be able to look into its eight eyes and see what its thinking...!!!
NB. Apologies to arachnaphobes for this spider post (and future such-like posts). There'll be some mammals soon - I promise!