in Arachnids2 months ago (edited)

The three species shown in this post were photographed during July of this year ...


... in three different areas in Istra.


Here you can see the interesting creation of the Philodromus rufus, a spider from the Philodromidae family. Spiders from that family are commonly known as running crab spiders. Like all of his relatives, the Philodromus rufus is an ambush predator that doesn't use any kind of web to catch its meal. But the females use their silky threads to make a cocoon for the eggs. The cocoon gets built during oviposition.

The cocoons can be built on differentnt types of leaves, so their shapes can slightly vary depending on the shape of the leaf. Most of the time I come across cocoons built on broad leaves of shrubs and trees. Those cocoons look like little, more or less circular tents on the lower surface of the leaf. In this case, the Philodromus rufus female has bent a blade of grass and built a slightly different kind of nest.


In this enlargeable photograph, you can take a better, more up-close look at the spider that was found and photographed in the woods near the city of Pazin, about sixty kilometers from where I live. The following photograph ...


... introduces another species.

The family is Cheiracanthiidae. The genus Cheiracanthium. But with a couple of similar-looking species present in the area, I can't tell you which one exactly is this. Maybe the Cheiracanthium pelasgicum. Or the Cheiracanthium mildei.


Cheiracanthium spiders are fast, mostly nocturnal predators that actively chase the prey. Males and females build silky sacks to have a place to rest during the day. After the mating, the females use the sacks to shelter the eggs and spiderlings.

The shape of the construction can vary depending on where is built. It can be built on or under the ear of grass, in between the stem and the leaf, in between two plants, or as in this case, by bending the long leaf of grass and attaching it to the stem of the neighboring plant.

In this shot, the spider has entered the sack.


This sack spider was found and photographed near the river Mirna, about ninety kilometers from where I live.


Two or three weeks ago, while walking through the woods in the rural area between the small towns of Vodnjan and Svetvinchenat, about thirty or forty kilometers from Medulin, my hometown ...

... I came across another interesting spider that was resting in its nest.


I noticed a small, dry leaf caught in the relatively large. loose web built in between the branches of the Juniperus communis shrub.

When I came closer and took a better look at the other side of the folded, completely dried-out leaf ...


... I noticed a small spider with a very rounded abdomen that looked like a marble ...


... and a cocoon.
This is the Parasteatoda lunata, a species from the Theridiidae family. The abdominal markings in this colorful species are always more or less the same, but the colors can vary considerably. From shades of red and orange like in the case of the spider shown in these photographs to various combinations of black, red, dark blue, and darker shades of brown. This was my first (and still the only) encounter with this species. Never before have I seen this combination of a spider, a cocoon, and a fallen leaf hanging in the spider's web.


Spiders from the Theridiidae family are commonly known as comb-footed spiders or tangle-web spiders. There is a great diversity of shapes and sizes when it comes to the webs built by the spiders from that family.
Besides the scientific name, I haven't found any other information about the Parasteatoda lunata spider or the genus Parasteatoda in general, so I can't tell you much. Fortunately, the photographs can say a few things in their own, visual language. Here you can see the female with a cocoon. I don't know if the leaf has accidentally fallen into the web or has been brought by the spider. I'll say that the first is more probable. I'm not even sure if the web that holds the leaf has been built by the same spider. I have more questions than answers when it comes to this species, the last one in the post.

The following links will take you to the sites with more information about the protagonists of this post. I found some stuff about them there.



Of course I enjoyed your spiders. I was thinking as I looked at the pictures of an article my son shared with me about spiders (jumping spiders) dreaming and having a REM phase. Have you seen this?

Scientific American,Spiders Seem to Have REM-like Sleep and May Even Dream

Cool. 🙂Didn't know about that. With this potential dreaming in mind, they look even more like minuscule, eight-legged cats or dogs when seen through the macro lens.


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Interesting the spider used the leaf for its nest....

Wow, that last spider looks like seafood: crabs and stuff; not just the shape but the colours too. I'm telling you as I looked at it all I could think of was eating it 😅.

Great shots as usual @borjan 👌.

Spiders and spider webs look really amazing. You have done very nice photography.

Very beautiful and amazing, I am amazed by the macro photos you take.