Aug 7, 2010

Mitey Spider

It's rare that I feel bad for a spider. But I've got a soft spot for jumping spiders.

You see, he isn't festooned with decorative orange bulbs. He's infested by mites. The ones on the side of his head and on his back might not be so bad (though they may bleed him dry). But that one between the eyes is just too much. I don't know much about mite ecology. Will they eventually drop off and let the spider be? Will they kill their host? Do they come in any other festive colors?

UPDATE: Hugh Yeman informs us that this spider, as evidenced by the lack of pedipalps is actually a female. Thanks, Hugh.

Photo source: liewwk


biobabbler said...

oh, how horrible. The poor creature. Wish I know what mites do (besides bring about distress). Yeesh--makes me very glad for opposable thumbs and maneuverable limbs.

VM Sehy Photography said...

I think they do eventually kill the host. I was reading up on honey bee mites. Apparently they will get in the hive and attach themselves before the bee is even born. Somedays it feels like the world is shrinking.

Benjamin said...

File this one under "We avoid the simply tragic, diseased, or maimed."

Anonymous said...

Having been attacked and prayed on by bird mites, I can commiserate with the spider. :(

April Lorier said...

Oh, who couldn't feel sorry for this spider, even if they don't LIKE spiders?

forestwalk/laura k said...

oooooh, poor little spider!

at first look...i'd say your blog is definitely one i want to check out again...when i have more time!

i love anything that has to do with critters of any kind!! very cool... thanks! :) laura

Hugh Yeman said...

I just discovered your blog today, and I like it! I'll be coming back.

I wanted to tell you that the spider is not a "he". I'm not saying this to be a know-it-all, but rather because I get the sense that you might find this fascinating: male siders have pedipalps (the little fifth set of legs in front) that are bulbous on the ends so that they look like boxing gloves. They are copulatory organs. The male spider infuses them with semen and, if he gets lucky and doesn't get eaten by the female for his brash advances, crawls around on her and deposits the sperm in her genital openings. It's a bizare example of indirect insemination.