Quick spider fix

CrabBalloonI was about to pick up a plastic storage bin out in the yard today when I noticed a little crab spider perched on it, so naturally I went to get the camera. He (yes it’s a male) was amusing himself by trying to balloon away, casting a webline into the wind until it was carried off, whereupon he would set the drag, or whatever it is spiders do, and fly off with it – this is how spiders usually get from place to place, and it’s quite effective.

At least, if the wind is sufficient, which didn’t exactly describe the conditions today. After a few frames I sat down next to the bin to make a minor repair, and he decided this was potentially dangerous, so he sailed off, making it less than a half-meter before coming to rest on my leg. I ignored him, and he continued to try and hitch a ride on the air. Once I finished, I gave him a couple of nudges which put him into defensive mode, seen below, before deciding to leap off towards the grass.
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Don’t you just love those eyes? There are two rows of four, but the second is pointing more upwards and isn’t terribly visible here. You can easily see his pedipalps though, tucked in close to his face.

By the way, the practice of holding out your thumb to hitch a ride actually came from spiders – the thumb is supposed to represent the abdomen held high in the air to cast a web. Bet you didn’t know that…

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