Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Mirror spiders (Amazing Photos)

Thwaitesia sp (mirror spider), photo taken in singapore
Thwaitesia Sp. in Singapore
Credit: Nicky Bay
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Theridiidae
Genus: Thwaitesia
Common Name(s): Mirror spider, sequined spider, twin-peaked Thwaitesia 

Spiders are one of the biggest and most diverse groups of arthropods. Some are small, some are big, some are harmless and some are deadly. Others are creepy and many are really beautiful.

Today's post is about a genus of spiders that is so beautiful, fascinating and unique that even arachnophobics will love it. The spiders I am talking about are commonly known as mirror spiders, and all belong to the Thwaitesia genus. Their most distinctive trait is the reflective silvery patches on their abdomen, hence the common name.

Thwaitesia spiders occur throughout the world and there are more than 20 described species at the moment. They are harmless to humans and relatively small, with adults being about 2 - 5 mm long, depending on the species and sex. Similarly to most spiders, female mirror spiders get larger than males. Mirror spiders are sometimes also reffered to as sequin, bling and jewel spiders.

There's not much info on the genus so I will leave you with some really amazing photos, I hope you enjoy them.

First, we have an awesome collection by Nicky Bayoriginally posted at his blog. All photos belong to the same specimen and were shot in Singapore:

What is very interesting with these photos is that as Bay mentions in his blog, the closer he gets to take the picture the more the silver plates expand (or maybe come close together?). In the last photo, Bay notes:

"This was the closest I got of the silver-plates at their largest. This Mirror Spider (Thwaitesia sp.) is indeed fascinating!"

Next we have some photos by Robert Whyte, originally posted at Arachne.org.au. They belong to the species T. argentiopunctata and T. nigronodosa. Again, a suberb collection:

And finally, two photos taken from wikimedia commons:

Credit: "Thwaitesia Spider on White Beech leaf" by Poyt448 Peter Woodard - Own work.
Licensed under CC-by-SA 3.0
Credit: "Bling Spider - Neon Spider - Thwaitsia sp. from the NSW Central Coast (7)" by Doug Beckers from Macmasters Beach, Australia - Bling Spider - Neon Spider, Theridiidae > Thwaitesia
Licensed under CC-by-SA 2.0

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