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Invertebrate of the Week #5 – Opadometa species

It’s good to be back!  To kick off my return to posting, I would like to introduce a conspicuous spider from the world’s third largest island, Borneo.

Opadometa sp. spider (Borneo)
Opadometa sp. spider, colloquially referred to as a “long-jawed orb weaver.” Source: Alex Hyde (http://alexhyde.photoshelter.com/)

According to photographer Alex Hyde, who took the incredible macro images you see in this post while working in the Maliau Basin (Sabah, Malaysia), the spider is a member of the genus Opadometa and is colloquially referred to as a “long-jawed orb weaver.”

Spiders of the genus Opadometa (Family Tetragnathidae) are currently represented by two species and eight subspecies in the Southeast Asian tropics where they can typically be found occupying vertical or oblique “orb-type” webs (~ 30 radii; ~30 spirals; open hubs) in shaded vegetation near roads or streams.

Opadometa sp. spider (Borneo)
Opadometa sp. spider. Source: Alex Hyde (http://alexhyde.photoshelter.com/)

While the stunning coloration certainly catches the eye, you might also be struck by the brush-like tufts of microseta on the distal third portion of the tibia that serve as one of the defining characteristics of the genus.  Though I was unable to find any literature as to their exact utility in this spider, I would venture to say they serve some sort of sensory function.

Opadometa sp. spider (Borneo)
Opadometa sp. spider. Source: Alex Hyde (http://alexhyde.photoshelter.com/)

Unfortunately, the information on this particular spider appears to be very limited so if anyone has any further details, please feel free to comment!  Otherwise, please take a moment to enjoy this remarkable little invertebrate from one of the oldest and most biodiverse habitats on Earth.  For more great photos of wildlife, please check-out photographer Alex Hyde’s blog!

If you own the image or images depicted in this post and would like them removed for any reason, simply contact me and I will remove them immediately.

Further Reading:

  • Alvarez-Padilla, Fernando. Higher Level Systematics of the Spider Family Tetragnathidae and Revision of the Genus Metabus (Araneae). ProQuest, 2008.
  • Spurs, Spines, Setae, Sensilla
  • Sebastian, PA (editor). Spiders of India. Universities Press, 2009.
  • Tscharntke et. al., Tropical Rainforests and Agroforests under Global Change: Ecological and Socio-economic Valuations. Springer Science & Business Media, 2010.
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