For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Vacation Time - Day 3 Part 3

African Star-chestnut or otherwise known as the Tick tree (Sterculia africana)
A thick stemmed tree growing only 5-12 meters in height. The bark peels and flakes to reveal a beautiful pastel-colored underbark.
The seeds resemble fat, engorged ticks, hence its other name and the hair around the pod can be an irritant to the skin.
It has the pretties flowers which are extremely small (maximum ¾” in diameter).
Taking a closer shot of it, I discovered the tiniest, most unusual little spider. The widest part of it, across the legs, could not have been more than 4mm. This is one I almost missed but then saw the difference in color to the petal which alerted me to it’s presence.
I have checked all over and cannot even begin to classify it. I would guess at it being some kind of crab spider judging from the legs but I have never seen one this shape or this hairy.

If there anyone who can give me more info on it, please do, it would be highly appreciated.

14 comments:

Gaelyn said...

That tiny spider sure has adapted well to live on the hairy flower of the tick bush, which at first looked rather dull and drab. But from you, I should know better.

Andrea said...

I am almost sure the name is Thomisus.
They are crab spiders living on the flowers.
The problem is there are tens of species all over the world.
A correct classification seems "slightly" difficult...

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

That was an interesting find Gaelyn. I love the colors in the bark of this tree ad the way the top layer peeled off.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Andrea. You are right it is a crab spider of some sort but they are normally smooth skinned and not hairy like this. Thanks for the links you sent me. It is greatly appreciated my friend.

mainly mongoose (Lynda) said...

Glad you made it home OK. I didn't know this was also called a tick-tree. The flowers are so weird close-up (just shows I never look). Well done on spotting the micro spider!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Lynda. Yes, safe and sound thanks. It always amazes me what the macro picks up and the eye sometimes misses.

Firefly said...

Oh well spotted. Another one that most of us would have missed.

Becky and Gary said...

Wow, maybe you have discovered a new species Joan!
He's a cute little bugger.
B.

Mary said...

I like the seed pod. What an interesting little spider....so fuzzy looking and cute.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jonker. If you did this kind of photography long enough, you would spot it too. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You could be right at that Becky. So many of our species have not yet been discovered and named. I am in the process of seeing if someone can tell me what it is and have sent it off to a couple of people.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Those "ticks" can give you quite a fright Mary. When I am in the bush I dont not mind anything, spiders, snakes etc but I do HATE ticks!!

JM said...

What a strange spider! Great find, Joan.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jose. It was. :)