Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Big, squished spider

That's what this post is about.  Yes, it's gross, and yes, there will be pictures.  You have been warned. I am not offended if you prefer to navigate elsewhere.


Still here?

All right, then...

Even though this mess is clearly on a paper towel, I did try to keep it in the same position as when I found it for this first shot.   So basically you see what I saw on the wet sidewalk that made me do a double take.  Big smooshed up spider?  Or a beetle, maybe?  Or maybe just a wad of wet black string.  I leaned down for a better look.  Not string.  And too many legs for a beetle.  That's why I brought it home.  I just had to see what it was!

Sizing him up.

Counting his legs.  No, you don't see 9 legs.  You see 7 legs and 2 pedipalps.  The pedipalps are the 2 leggish looking appendages in the front, to either side of the fangs.  They have sensory function for smell and taste, and help with sperm transfer during mating.

With the spider's overall size, long pedipalps and small abdomen, I have tentatively identified it as a male California Trapdoor Spider, 

I found this amusing bit of Trapdoor Spider trivia on BugGuide:
According to Guinness World Records, as of 2009, this is the strongest spider. It has been able to resist a force 38 times its own weight when defending its trapdoor. This equates to a man trying to hold a door closed while it is being pulled on the other side by a small jet plane.(1) Unfortunately, the Guinness book doesn't mention if it's the strongest North American spider or if it's the strongest in the world. Also, one thing to think about is whether or not every spider's strength has been measured (no, they most definitely have not). The information is flawed in many respects, but it still asserts the fact that these spiders are pretty strong.

You can see some good photos of living spiders here. This, in all its dead gory glory, was my first Trapdoor. And I say it still counts.
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