Feature Journal

Eunuch Spiders

on
13 December 2011
We all heard of eunuchs. But what about eunuch spiders? Impotent males? Castrated males?? How did they reach such a state?

Had a day off from reservist and found myself at Dairy Farm looking for interesting bugs. There, I found a male St Andrew’s Cross Spider (Argiope sp.) but with it’s palps missing. One could almost think that it was a female spider with the absence of the palps.

This male Argiope could have lost both it’s palps in a mating sequence, therefore becoming a complete eunuch. They sometimes stay in the female’s web to chase away other males that may arrive. This ensures that the first male remains as the only male parent! (Information kindly shared by David Court)

UpdateThere were some studies that shows a higher endurance and higher chances of success in a fight for eunuch spiders, possibly due to the lighter weight.
Source: Male Spider Ditches Penis, Gains Fighting Power

Male Orb Weaver (Argiope sp.) - DSC_7911#1 The male St Andrew’s Cross Spider. Normally the palps would be swollen and visible from this angle, but they are gone now.

Male Orb Weaver (Argiope sp.) - DSC_7918#2 A slightly different angle. Somehow, this male wasn’t near to any web of a female. It might have been separated earlier.

Ant-like Sac Spider (Corinnomma severum) - DSC_7904#3 Ant-mimicking sac spider (Corinnomma severum)

Clouded Monitor Lizard (Varanus nebulosus?) - DSC_7927#4 This malayan water monitor lizard clouded monitor lizard (Thanks to Ivan for correcting this) came out to greet me

Derbid Planthopper? (Derbidae) - DSC_7935#5 Derbidae with a very odd purplish hue

Derbid Planthopper? (Derbidae) - DSC_7956#6 Slight shift in angle gives it a very different background

Derbid Planthopper? (Derbidae) - DSC_7972#7 Closer view

Lichen Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_8013#8 Lichen Huntsman (Sparassidae) shot under natural light. I almost pressed my hands on it while shooting the Derbidae above. These are quite good at camouflaging themselves on tree barks.

The complete album can be viewed here.
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3 Comments
  1. Reply

    Groupdmt

    6 January 2012

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Reply

    Ivan

    6 January 2012

    That's a clouded monitor lizard http://ecologyasia.com/verts/lizards/clouded_monitor.htm

  3. Reply

    Nicky Bay

    7 January 2012

    Thanks Ivan, corrected!

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NICKY BAY
Singapore

Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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