It’s Arachtober so I wanted to share, in case you didn’t already know, that the University of Richmond’s mascot is a spider (named WebstUR, I gather). That’s pretty cool. Not as cool as the Evergreen State Geoduck, but nonetheless pretty notable for a nation that tends to hate spiders. But because Arachtober is about arachnid awareness, I’d like to point out that the logo the school uses is almost certainly a mite, not a spider. Here’s a pic from the campus store:
The main reason it looks like a mite is that it lacks a cephalothorax (head plus thorax), something that all spiders have. Here’s a spider:For fun, I loaded the logo into iNaturalist, a website that uses artificial intelligence to recognize and identify organisms. The AI thought the logo was a mite (or tick):
Given the shape of the idiosoma (body) and size of the pedipalps, I’m wondering whether the artist who drew the logo might have based his or her drawing on a tropical fowl mite (Ornithonyssus bursa) or something related. Below is a drawing of one of those, though the legs don’t look quite long enough to match the logo exactly.
If you have any details on how the University happened to base its logo on a mite, I’d love to hear from you. I wonder whether the hired artist simply Googled, “spider”, and then selected a nice drawing that happened to be a spider mite. This is why it’s good to run these things by your biology faculty members.
I think this is Eris flava, but happy to be corrected. Like every jumping spider I’ve photographed it held onto its prey even while I chased it around the leaf to get the shot. I think I’ve seen a jumping spider discard its prey only once, and perhaps that instance was a spider that had pretty much finished the meal. If you know of any papers on the topic of prey retention under threat, I’d be interested.
If you’re curious, the fly probably isn’t dead yet. Just paralyzed and being digested from within with enzymes injected by the spider. I’d wager the process is exquisitely unpleasant for the fly. I’m assuming the spider moves to different parts of the fly to access different pockets of muscle and such but I couldn’t confirm that in the literature.
If you’re interested in identifying something that’s similar, there’s a useful paper on differences of E. flava and E. militaris by Madison 1986 (pdf), but illustrations of the head are only of males. Photographs and other information are at BugGuide.
I found some tiny yellow spiders patrolling some lava in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, during a light rain. Pretty sure they are striped lynx spiders (Oxyopes salticus). It’s been dry since then and I haven’t seen them. They are absolutely adorable.