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. I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice this. The main reason it looks like a mite is that it lacks a cephalothorax (head plus thorax), something that all spiders have. Also, their mascot has legs that don’t have clear segments. iNaturalist, a website that uses an AI to recognize and identify organisms, also thinks the logo is a mite (or tick):
Given the shape of the idiosoma (body) and size of the pedipalps, I’m wondering whether the artist 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 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.