Does dysdera occassionally practice matriphagy? Or is there likely to have been something else at work? There is no sign of any spiderlings, and the exeoskeleton was in bits, so doesn't appear to have been ecdysis.
Rhododendron would seem an ideal habitat for a spider noted for its love of shaded situations.
I am not being critical of anybody here, so please don't take my posts as being targeted as yourself. It is extremely pleasing that you have suggested posting on the SRS forum and will continue to do so. Thank you for this. Was your Zilla diodia adult? I suspect not at this time of year, whereas juveniles/subadults would not be surprising. Zilla is one of the species which can generally be identified as a juvenile!
I agree that most spiders can't be identified (to species) from most photographs, and I often re-iterate that on the various forums where spiders are posted for 'identification'.
However, I disagree that id from photographs is a worthless pursuit, as, if nothing else, its an opportunity to engage the public and encourage some interest in spiders. A surprising number of the photographs that are posted are identifiable, most to family, some to genera, and a surprising amount to species.
I also think a photograph, whilst it may not provide certainty, can give a good indication of whether something is worth further investigation ~ in this case I don't think I was wrong to push it on for clarification. It's araniella. Fine. That is why I suggested it get posted here, for confirmation *or* rejection. So I'll continue to suggest that identifications that are outside my experience, but possibly of some significance, are referred here. I'll also continue to promote the SRS as a source of information for distribution, phrenology etc.
On balance, I hope on our interactions, I'm still in credit, though I do need to get my next chunk of microscopically confirmed records to you.. I had an out of season adult male metellina mengei yesterday, and a zilla diodia on rhododendron the day before.
The modern fashion that all and anything can be identified from a photograph, including photographs of juveniles, will also simply result in a lot of incorrect records and web traffic for no good purpose. I would certainly say that the spider pictured at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mickmassie/6931647794/ link is indeed likely to be an Araniella species and not A. alsine. People jump to the conclusion just from the colour that an araneid must be A. alsine when plenty of garden spider Araneus diadematus can be orange for example, a large proportion of Araniella juveniles can be orange and so on. Araneus diadematus can usually be distinguished by the abdominal markings, including in juveniles, but these are also very variable and sometimes indistinct. Araniella species certainly cannot be reliably determined without microscopical examination, and even then can be difficult.
Other than the very small proportion of species where for various reasons it is safe to assume a juvenile identification, adults are a must. The only way of getting experience of juveniles and making PROVISIONAL identifications in the field or from photographs is by examining a lot of adult spiders under a microscope over a great many years and rearing juveniles through.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mickmassie/6931647794/ - presumably also araniella.
As I had no experience of this species, and considering its status in the UK (and especially the IOW) I thought it was worth flagging to someone that did have experience, just in case. A bit less optimism, and a bit more experience of juvenile araniella might have spared some net traffic, but its hard to get experience of juveniles when the bulk of the discipline is based on mature sexual characters.
It would be useful, for future reference, to know any firm character(s) that marks this as araniella rather than araneus, or is it just jizz (abdomen shape?) that marks this out to more experienced eyes?
Best Regards, Matt
I posted this spider photo for identification at Wild About Britain where Matt Prince and Pepsis have suggested it could be a juvenile Araneus alsine. Matt subsequently suggested I post the photo here for further comment.
I gather it may be of interest as there may not be records of this species for the Isle of Wight, if it is this species. The spider was photographed on beech around 2ft from the ground in mixed deciduous woodland near Sandown on 29th November.
Thanks in advance for any help, Rob
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