Friday, 1 June 2012

Scorpion-tailed Spider, Arachnura higginsi

Image: wigzac via Flickr
Scorpion-tailed Spider?! Does this thing have venom on BOTH ends? Yikes!

Arachnura higginsi is a small orb-weaver from Australia. She may be just 16 mm (0.63 in) long, but you won't forget her in a hurry; she looks extraordinary!

At the end of that crazy tail are all these little spikes and knobs. It's quite intimidating, looking like a tiny mace.

Image: teejaybee via Flickr
So... does it sting? Does it bite and sting? Does it bite, build webs and sting?

Image: David Cook Wildlife Photography (kookr) via Flickr
No! It may well be more to do with camouflage. Scorpion-tailed Spiders even come in colours ranging between light cream to brown, so it must look much like a dead leaf in a web.

When disturbed she can in fact raise her tail over her head. I guess it's to scare stuff away by looking like it will sting. To me, the prospect of a zombie leaf is far more terrifying. I've been trying to eat my greens for years, the idea of all those carrots and lettuce leaves rising from the dead and baying for my blood is a shocking prospect.

Image: Robert Whyte via Flickr
A young, sub-adult Scorpion-tailed Spider
All this is only the female, of course. Males are just 2 mm (0.08 in) long and have no tail at all.

The female's web has a V-shaped section missing from the top. When the time comes, she will fill it with a row of egg sacs made of brown, woolly silk. She may even cover them in debris for camouflage. That's one dirty and completely unused web!

Image: Robert Whyte via Flickr
Another youngster. Banana butt!
The youngsters can be quite brightly coloured and it takes a while for the tail to fully develop its dangerous appearance.

One thing is for sure, though: I shall never eat another vegetable again! Or banana.


TexWisGirl said...

now, who couldn't love this guy?! :)

Comment1 said...

Agreed! I can't quite keep my eyes off her!

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