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First, right up against the back of the house next to our compost, the magic guardian of the compost. Only the bravest and cleverest of mice may get by the guardian. This was the third time I saw it in the course of the day, but the only halfway decent photo. If you follow Alexis on social media you may have seen me holding it--it never tried to bite, it just thoroughly coated me with its stink gland.

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Then, a tiny jumping spider! This is on our fire pit. His markings in this picture identify him as Platycryptus undatus a species well known around buildings and other mad-made habitats, which earned it the common name "Familiar Jumper," at least in the field guide I use the most.

Oh, as an aside--the book I linked to seems to be insanely cheap online at the moment. If you've been waffling, now's the time. It's small but covers a specific geographic region (great lakes to new england) really thoroughly. Maybe there's a new edition in the pipes or something. I also just noticed that the Familiar Jumper is the largest picture on the cover.

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This spider does not endorse the previous field guide advertisement. He mainly wants to roam this weird unpleasant landscape to find prey.

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From this angle we can see that this spider is a VERY handsome male. Usually those reddish hairs form a band across the face below the eyes. Unless I've made a misidentification, this guy is the right sex and species, just likes to wear his facial hair differently. The white whiskers on his palps are probably there to help in their most important function: transferring semen. But maybe they just complete the outfit.

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This is a different kind of handsome face. This harvestman (a non-spider arachnid that some people call daddy long-legs) is likely to be in the genus Leiobunum, which bugguide.net describes with warnings about the hubris of attempting identification to species. You will need special tools to examine the most intimate body parts of the animal--not easy to do with a live specimen.

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I was resting on top of a leaf--perhaps just gathering energy for nighttime activity, or ready to pounce on a wandering insect. They don't have venom glands, a challenge that distinguishes them from spiders, along with body shape and the lack of silk glands. Even spiders that don't build web traps use silk for various other purposes--the harvestman makes do without.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2016 04:21 pm (UTC)
Wow, that lens ... and what you do with it.

I pity your arachnophobic friend tho :-D
Jun. 12th, 2016 10:41 pm (UTC)
I do too, poor thing, but this is what I'm into!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


The Urban Pantheist

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