June 2020 Spider of the Month

The spider of the month is this mushroom theridiid (Phoroncidia sp., possibly P. capensis, family Theridiidae), taken by Bruce Blake in his garden in Amanzimtoti, KZN,

Bruce has photographed a few of these very small spiders (about 2-3 mm in body length) in his garden and at various other spots along the East Coast (see compilation in the comments).

There are 80 species in the world, most of them found in South America and Asia, and a few species in Europe, Oceania, and Africa. There are only three recorded species in South Africa.

These are rare spiders and not much is known about them. When I asked more about them, Bruce replied:

“I tend to find them mostly under the leaves of broad-leaved plants such as Dracaena and Oxyanthus but only because they’re easier to find and photograph there. I have found them in small-leaved plants as well. I normally look for their egg sacs, which are small, 3 mm papery spheres set on a relatively long, about 10 mm stalk on the underside of leaves. Often the adult female is somewhere close by. If disturbed, they drop on a single strand of silk and just hang there until the threat has passed.”

Bruce’s awesome photos have featured more than once as spider of the month candidates, but this is the first time his picture received the most votes. The first day it was a neck-and-neck race between this spider and the Poltys furcifer, but then the gap just increased more and more. Congratulations, Bruce, and keep the photos coming!