Monday, April 1, 2013

Arachnids on an Arachnid?

One Huntsman Spider and Many Mites ...and not just mites, according to one source, but mite larvae. IMG_1296 I had a couple of the dead trees that were still standing near the house cut down (and then cut up) for firewood.

 When stacking the resulting logs, I found this Huntsman Spider complete with what appeared to be drops of resin so often seen dripping from injuries on gum trees.

 Closer inspection revealed what I first thought were ticks. I posted the photos on my flickr page and as so often happens, someone more knowledgeable than I did recognise them as mite larvae.
 "Larval forms of these mites are parasitic on various other arthropods, for example harvestmen, but the adults are free-living predators. ... The larvae bite a hole into the cuticula of the host and use a stylostome, which acts like a drinking straw, to drink body fluids dissolved tissues."

 The Huntsman I understand to be a Sparassidae species (formerly Heteropodidae).

 The mites, according to Wikipedia are Erythraeidae, a family of mites belonging to the Trombidiformes and are entirely new to me. He's (she's?) watching closely. IMG_1297

Two days after placing the log with the spider still on it in a sheltered place UNDER the house, I found it entering the back door



So far as I know it is now comfortably set up, inside here somewhere.


  1. These are lovely photographs. I can see at least a baker's dozen of mites on that poor spider. Wonder what effect (if any) they're having on it?

  2. Thank you.
    It is your own blog which has encouraged me to get back into this again.