Fantastic photos, Jack. When your book comes out, let us know. I'll buy a copy.
Thank you very much, Eric, that means alot!
Great stuff, Jack. Whomever your entomologist friend is, his colleagues are going to be very jealous...
LOL, thanks Mike.
Actually, they are pretty good guys also, and I may be doing some photography of their insect specimens as well, for the new museum website being discussed.
Beautiful work! Do the jumping spiders have 6 eyes? Is this number of eyes unusual for a spider? Also, I know this sounds like the lead in for a gag, but how do you tell the difference between male and female spiders?
Thank you Justan.
Actually, spiders have 8 eyes ... and it is a very good question about "how to tell" the sex on spiders. With some species, you can immediately tell by color/pattern/size. With others that otherwise look the same, however, you have to tell by the "palps." The palps are located between the fangs and the lead set of legs. Both males and females have palps, but the female's are thin whereas the male's are "swollen" at the ends. The reason the male's palps are swollen at the ends is because he actually inseminates a female with them. The male first spins a "sperm web," then deposits his semen on it, and then absorbs the semen with his palps ... which he then carries over to the female to inseminate her. (Spiders do not have penis/vagina sex organs; they reproduce by the male inserting his sperm-soaked palps into her.) For example:
Arrows indicate male's swollen palps
The male Striped Lynx above has very pronounced "swollen palps" to identify his sex. Meanwhile, the Florida Lynx (below) is clearly female because she does NOT have swollen palps:
No swollen palps
Although there are no arrows, the palps of spiders are pretty obvious, and that is the usual means of sexing them (males are swollen at the end, females are not). In some species, the swelling is not as obvious as in Lynxes, but a discerning eye can sex most species of spiders at a glance, once he knows what to look for.
Hope this clarifies!