Saturday, June 28, 2014

On a mission

On the wall beside my desk, a male running crab spider made a thorough search, running up, down, across and back, looking behind shelves and furniture. He didn't find what he was looking for; I could have told him that and saved him the trouble. He was the only spider on that wall. The nearest female was outside, by the back door.

Philodromus dispar, adult male. About 5 mm. long, eyes to spinnerets.

The female he was hunting for is slightly larger than he is, and dressed in mottled light brown. Only the mature males wear black decorated with those whitish stripes down the sides.

They are hunting spiders, always on the move, chasing down their prey rather than sitting in a web waiting for it. But when breeding time comes around, the male forgets to eat and wears himself thin racing, racing, racing; looking everywhere for a mate. Does he know what he wants? Probably not; he just feels the need to run and look and look again. But he'll know her when he finds her.

On his way up again, just in case he missed her. The "boxing glove" ends of his pedipalps are another sign of a mature male.

He's examined that wall and the curtain at the window, and has moved on. Only a few metres left to go before he discovers the female's hangout. I wish him luck.

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