Wednesday 28 October 2015

Anyphaenidae: buzzing spiders

Credit gbohne, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.

A mainly American family with a single UK species, Anyphaena accentuata, that can be recognised by arrow head markings on the abdomen. They are good climbers that live on the foliage of trees in woodland and scrub, where they hunt and mate. They are active hunters that pounce on insects that sit on leaves such as leafhoppers, aphids and flies.

Buzzing spider
Males of this species (top shot) use acoustic cues in courtship, vibrating the abdomen and tapping with the palps while sitting on a leaf. This produces an audible noise (which may be undetectable for older people), so Bristowe suggested the name buzzing spider for them. This is a short clip of this behaviour. Females may respond to these signals by approaching the calling male. Females attach their egg sac to the underside of leaves and guards it in a thin silk cell.

Cold adapted
Immature buzzing spiders are active year round and have physiological adaptations to activity during cold temperatures, even below the freezing point. In the winter they prey on small insects that live on bark.

No comments: