[Taxacom] The spider and the slug

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 3 21:13:46 CDT 2007

     Intestesting!!!  I hadn't thought of ectoparasites (like mites) 
attracting the spider.  If so, it would be sort like a "La Brea Tar Pit" (in 
miniature) in the slime on the back of a slug.  :-)

     I don't really have much doubt that the spider was probably dead when 
you found it, but its upright position still makes me think it was attracted 
by "something" and actally jumped on the slug, whether the attraction was 
pheromones, small prey (ectoparasites), or large prey (the slug itself).  If 
so, it made a big mistake and paid the price.  But can't rule out the 
possibility that it was already dead and just happened to fall on the slug 
in an upright and life-like position.
     -----Ken Kinman
>From: Jan Bosselaers <dochterland at pandora.be>
>Subject: Re: [Taxacom] The spider and the slug
>Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2007 08:49:19 +0200
>Dear Taxacomers,
>Many thanks to all who replied on this. I got quite a few tips this way 
>(thanks for the novocaine tip!)
>A brief summary:
>The slug may be a juvenile Laevicaulis sp.
>The spider is Oxyopes sp., not identifiable to species due to lack of 
>revision of the 80+ afrotropical species. The palp was removed by me for 
>It is theoretically possible that Oxyopes, with its varied diet, eats 
>molluscs. Or the male spider might be attracted by pheromones, or by mites 
>living on the slug. On the other hand, I also find it possible that it was 
>already dead and just stuck to the slug. I do not remember the spider 
>moving. But unfortunately, I did not pay much attention to that: after 
>taking some photographs, I fixed the lot in 70% ethanol and tried to save 
>my things on a partially flooded camping place with grazing hippopotamus 
>Best regards,
>>     After looking at the pictures again this morning, my impression still 
>>is that the oxyopid spider was going after the slug.  Perhaps an even more 
>>likely possibility is that the male spider found the slug chemically 
>>attractive.  If one of the slug's pheromones was chemically similar to one 
>>of the oxyopid's pheromones, the spider could accidentally get stuck on 
>>the slug.
>>     The number of chemical pheromones is not unlimited, and there are 
>>bound to be overlaps that can cause mistakes (as with insects attracted to 
>>some perfumes).  I always wondered if the common occurence of male spiders 
>>being found in bathtubs and sinks (during mating season) could be due to 
>>an attraction to scented soaps, shampoos, etc.
>>   ------Ken
>>>From: "Robin Leech" <releech at telusplanet.net>
>>>To: "Ken Kinman" <kinman at hotmail.com>, <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>>>CC: <docterland at pandora.be>
>>>Subject: Re: [Taxacom] The spider and the slug
>>>Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2007 21:22:35 -0600
>>>Hi Ken, and Jan,
>>>I have no clue about who did what to whom in these pictures.
>>>A spider would not normally go after something that is sticky
>>>and slimy, and as the spider appears to be an adult male, I
>>>doubt even further than it was going after the slug.
>>>It is possible that the spider had died, and dropped to the ground,
>>>and in the normal course of travelling, the slug slid by close enough
>>>to pick up the spider.
>>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Ken Kinman" <kinman at hotmail.com>
>>>To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>>>Sent: Monday, August 20, 2007 7:55 PM
>>>Subject: Re: [Taxacom] The spider and the slug
>>>>Robin and Jan,
>>>>     The spider appears to be on the dorsal side of the slug, so if
>>>>predation was occurring, I would guess it was the spider that was biting 
>>>>eating the slug.  I suspect that the "missing" pedipalp was actually cut 
>>>>so that it could be more easily mounted and photographed.
>>>>    What I wonder about is the phrase "firmly attached".  If the spider 
>>>>biting the slug, perhaps it got stuck in the slug's slime?  Or was it
>>>>hanging on tightly with its leg claws until its poison took effect?
>>>>   -------Ken
>>>>>From: "Robin Leech" <releech at telusplanet.net>
>>>>>To: "Jan Bosselaers" <dochterland at pandora.be>,"TAXACOM List"
>>>>><taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>>>>>Subject: Re: [Taxacom] The spider and the slug
>>>>>Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2007 17:49:58 -0600
>>>>>Hi Jan,
>>>>>Was the spider being eaten by the slug?  One of its pedipalps is 
>>>>>and looks to have been torn off.
>>>>>If you still have the spider, preserved, there are a number of people 
>>>>>might be able to help you ID it.
>>>>>A good way to catch and "fix" molluscs is with novacaine - yes the 
>>>>>dentists use in your gums.  You need only about 0.2 millilitres per 100
>>>>>millitres of water.  Drop the slug in.  It will go numb very quickly, 
>>>>>relax.  Once it is relaxed, you can drop it into preservative, and it 
>>>>>contract into a small ball.
>>>>>----- Original Message -----
>>>>>From: "Jan Bosselaers" <dochterland at pandora.be>
>>>>>To: "TAXACOM List" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>>>>>Sent: Monday, August 20, 2007 4:45 PM
>>>>>Subject: [Taxacom] The spider and the slug
>>>>> > Dear Taxacomers,
>>>>> >
>>>>> > Two weeks ago, I found these two animals closely associated, at Lake
>>>>> > Baringo in Kenya: http://www.dochterland.org/slug&spider.htm
>>>>> > Does anyone know whether this is a chance meeting or not? Does 
>>>>> > know the species?
>>>>> >
>>>>> > Thanks,
>>>>> >
>>>>> > Jan
>>>>> >
>>>>> >

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