Thursday, August 5, 2010

Arrowhead Weaver

 Today I had a surprise visit to my office by a facebook friend that I had never met in person before. My office is on the same campus with Missouri Western State University, the campus is also home to the new Kansas City Chiefs training camp. He was coming out to take pictures of the chiefs practicing and decided to stop in and say "Hi" to me first. I am so glad he did, I had a very enjoyable visit and he took time to walk the trails with me at work. We found a few interesting insects, like this Arrowhead Weaver (Verrucosa arenata). I have to thank Eric Eaton over at for verifying the ID on this species. I love these little spiny spiders. I have posted blogs about the Spined Micrathena and the Arrow-Shaped Micrathena in the last couple of weeks and now I can add an additional to species to my life list for these spiders. They are so unusually shaped and colored. They are found from Kansas eastward and also occur in Texas. There are three different color patterns on the abdomen and each of three colors may be found on individual species living in the same habitat. I found two in the woods today and each one was a little different.
 This one was more white than yellow, but otherwise identical to the first specimen. These spiders are considered a timber species and will be found hanging upside down in their webs in woodlands. It is the arrow-shaped pattern on the abdomen that has earned them their common name...but they also go by the name of Triangulate Orbweaver, because obviously arrowheads are shaped like triangles.
These are not very large spiders, their overall length is about 1/2 with legspan (females) males are much smaller at just over a 1/4 inch.

If you would like to see these unique spiders, head out to the timber and look carefully in shady areas among vegetation. You will be surprised what you might find. The beauty of insects and spiders never ceases to amaze me.

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