Ultraviolet Fluorescence in Spiders

12 July 2013

It is rather common knowledge that scorpions emit a bright blue glow under ultraviolet light. Recently, we’ve found that some millipedes and harvestmen exhibit the same behavior as well. This made us shine our UV torches at almost every subject we saw. What resulted on this night, was a really pleasant discovery. 🙂

Update 20 Nov 2013: My UV photos were recently published on WIRED, with more details on this phenomenon: The Secret World of Fluorescent Arthropods.

    Bird Dung Spider (Pasilobus sp.) - DSC_9463
  1. Bird Dung Spider (Pasilobus sp.)

    Victor found this Bird Dung Spider which we often shot. This is the rear view.

  2. Bird Dung Spider (Pasilobus sp.) - DSC_9466
  3. Bird Dung Spider (Pasilobus sp.)

    The Bird Dung Spider dangling on it’s web.

  4. Bird-Dung Orb Weaver (Pasilobus sp.) - DSC_8478
  5. Bird-Dung Orb Weaver (Pasilobus sp.)

    The web of this Bird Dung Spider is a bizarre array of dangling silk lined with sticky droplets to catch prey. The spider waits patiently on the far-right.

  6. Bird Dung Spider (Pasilobus sp.) - DSC_9524
  7. Bird Dung Spider (Pasilobus sp.)

    Face to face with the Bird Dung Spider

  8. Bird Dung Spider (Pasilobus sp.) - DSC_9805
  9. Bird Dung Spider (Pasilobus sp.)

    Lo and behold, under ultraviolet light, the Bird Dung Spider illuminates to resemble some precious blue stone!! Even the eyes were a creepy blue! Thanks to Melvyn for taking the effort to shine the UV light at almost every subject we saw that night. 😛

  10. There were actually many other interesting subjects in the night… gonna be a long post!

    Flatid Planthopper (Flatidae) - DSC_9267
  11. Flatid Planthopper (Flatidae)

    Many Flatid Planthoppers lined the branches of trees along the path, including it’s nymphs. We searched for one emerging from a moult to no avail.

  12. Comb-Footed Spider (Theriididae) - DSC_9271
  13. Comb-Footed Spider (Theriididae)

    A beautiful Comb-Footed Spider was found hiding under a leaf

  14. Comb-Footed Spider (Theriididae) - DSC_9283
  15. Comb-Footed Spider (Theriididae)

    Another Comb-Footed Spider , looks like a male

  16. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_9286
  17. Jumping Spider (Salticidae)

    Found a Jumping Spider guarding her spiderlings, but it was way too high and I couldn’t get a good shot.

  18. Garden Spider (Eriovixia pseudocentrodes) - DSC_9295
  19. Garden Spider (Eriovixia pseudocentrodes)

    Andy found this Garden Spider with a pointed abdomen

  20. Garden Spider (Eriovixia pseudocentrodes) - DSC_9304
  21. Garden Spider (Eriovixia pseudocentrodes)

    The Garden Spider looked pregnant and could be laying eggs soon! Actually the term should be gravid, which means carrying eggs, while pregnant means carrying live young. Thanks to Mark for pointing it out. 🙂 I still tend to use terms for mammals in the captions, as I usually end up anthropomorphising the subjects.

  22. Lynx Spider (Oxyopidae) - DSC_9317
  23. Lynx Spider (Oxyopidae)

    It was a pleasant surprise to find a Lynx Spider fresh out of moult. Unfortunately the rest were far ahead and I could not call them back to take some shots of this fella.

  24. Lynx Spider (Oxyopidae) - DSC_9322
  25. Lynx Spider (Oxyopidae)

    Dangling only by a single line of silk, the Lynx Spider was spinning wildly!

  26. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.) - DSC_9337
  27. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.)

    Melvyn found this tiny Mantis Parasitic Wasp on a mantis ootheca (egg mass), maybe 5mm body length!

  28. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.) - DSC_9361
  29. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.)

    The Mantis Parasitic Wasp was busy ovipositing (laying eggs) into the mantis ootheca!

  30. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae) - DSC_9371
  31. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae)

    There were many Long-Legged Sac Spiders running around

  32. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae) - DSC_9377
  33. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae)

    The Long-Legged Sac Spider typically has very long chelicerae

  34. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_9385
  35. Jumping Spider (Salticidae)

    I found this cute Jumping Spider just beside the Miturgid!

  36. Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_9389
  37. Jumping Spider (Salticidae)

    The patterns on this Jumping Spider were quite pretty

  38. Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.) - DSC_9400
  39. Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.)

    The others found this male Net-Casting Spider with it’s usual Ogre-Face.

  40. Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.) - DSC_9409
  41. Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.)

    The palps of the male Net-Casting Spider are swollen, all ready to mate!

  42. Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.) - DSC_9414
  43. Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.)

    The stick-like body of the Net-Casting Spider camouflages itself well among thin twigs

  44. Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.) - DSC_9418
  45. Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.)

    Final shot of the classic ogre-face 🙂

  46. Cone-Headed Grasshopper (Pseudomorphacris sp.) - DSC_9421
  47. Cone-Headed Grasshopper (Pseudomorphacris sp.)

    A common Cone-Headed Grasshopper from an unusual view

  48. Golden Comb Footed Spider (Chrysso sp.) - DSC_9422
  49. Golden Comb Footed Spider (Chrysso sp.)

    Juvenile Golden Comb Footed Spider

  50. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae) - DSC_9431
  51. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae)

    Another Long-Legged Sac Spider . This one looks pregnant with the large abdomen!

  52. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae) - DSC_9436
  53. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae)

    Close up on the face of the Long-Legged Sac Spider

  54. Praying Mantis (Acromantis sp.) - DSC_9445
  55. Praying Mantis (Acromantis sp.)

    Interesting pose of the Praying Mantis

  56. Broad-Headed Bugs (Alydidae) - DSC_9449
  57. Broad-Headed Bugs (Alydidae)

    Melvyn found this pair of mating Broad-Headed Bugs

  58. Assassin Bug (Reduviidae) - DSC_9460
  59. Assassin Bug (Reduviidae)

    This Assassin Bug was just above the broad-headed bugs but refused to stop walking!

  60. Ant (Formicidae) - DSC_9504
  61. Ant (Formicidae)

    Say Yiam, Ron and Kit Ming were shooting this queen ant that has dropped her wings

  62. Ant (Formicidae) - DSC_9506
  63. Ant (Formicidae)

    The colours were lovely!! But I wondered if she could still start her colony as she appeared to be walking around weakly.

  64. Mantis - DSC_9540
  65. Mantis

    One of the common Mantids on the ground, so I took a customary passport photo. 🙂

  66. Leaf-Rolling Weevil (Attelabidae) - DSC_9620
  67. Leaf-Rolling Weevil (Attelabidae)

    The permanent resident of the park, the Leaf-Rolling Weevil , finally made an appearance!

  68. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.) - DSC_9570
  69. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.)

    Say Yiam found another Mantis Parasitic Wasp

  70. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.) - DSC_9604
  71. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.)

    This time I managed to go closer

  72. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.) - DSC_9646
  73. Mantis Parasitic Wasp (Podagrion sp.)

    And then the Mantis Parasitic Wasp started ovipositing again!

  74. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae) - DSC_9607
  75. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae)

    Yet another Long-Legged Sac Spider with a caterpillar prey!

  76. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae) - DSC_9636
  77. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae)

    Long-Legged Sac Spider sucking on the juices of the caterpillar

  78. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae) - DSC_9688
  79. Long-Legged Sac Spider (Miturgidae)

    Shot of the Long-Legged Sac Spider’s hungry face!

  80. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_9691
  81. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.)

    On our way out, the others in the group spotted a Tree Stump Orb Weaver on it’s web

  82. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_9694
  83. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.)

    The Tree Stump Orb Weaver cringed as we went closer

  84. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_9698
  85. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.)

    Dorsal view of the Tree Stump Orb Weaver .. can’t tell that it’s a spider from here!

  86. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_9702
  87. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.)

    The Tree Stump Orb Weaver started to dance around

  88. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_9721
  89. Tree Stump Orb Weaver (Poltys sp.)

    It then ran to hide under a leaf and stared at me

  90. Garden Spider (Parawixia sp.) - DSC_9705
  91. Garden Spider (Parawixia sp.)

    Final subject of the night.. a Garden Spider

  92. Garden Spider (Parawixia sp.) - DSC_9709
  93. Garden Spider (Parawixia sp.)

    View of the abdomen

The complete album can be viewed here.




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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