Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia savignyi

Two-Tailed Spider

Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia
Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia

Returning after a busy day for a cup of coffee I noticed a spider on the granite pillar which leads to my house. When I built my house I got these local rough granite pillars from granite quarry in the nearby town of Karkala. 16 such tall stone pillars stand supporting roof of my pathway to my house. They are safe heavens for potter wasps who love to build nests. I had several social wasps building small hives before their larvae being eaten by neighboring potter wasps. Being rough it is a nice playing ground for Calotes lizards. That day I spotted a spider which was perfectly camouflaged to the granite background on that pillar. I could spot it only because it was holding a dark dead bee in its mouth and feeding on it. Later I could identify it as Two-Tailed Spider (Hersilia)

Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia
Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia

I quickly grabbed my Canon EOS 5D mark II flitted with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM. For illumination I used Canon Speedlite 580EX II fitted with ExpoImaging Ray Flash Adapter. For closeup work I use this setup as the Ray Flash Adapter produces nice diffuse light which does not give out harsh highlights. Only drawback I see is that you can see the reflection ring light as white ring on the reflective parts of the subject. After using Rayflash adapter I have nearly stopped using Canon MT-24EX macro twin light flash which I have.I think I need to start using macro twin light flash again with some diffuser so that I can reduce the reflection of ringlight and make the picture look natural. As the spider was stationary feeding on the bee, I had plenty of opportunity to photograph the spider from all the angles.

Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia
Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia

Being very well camouflaged for life, these spiders have an interesting way of capturing prey. The members of Hersiliidae family are flat, medium sized spiders that have a cryptic appearance and are usually found on tree trunks. These are very fast running, active hunting spiders. The most easily distinguishable feature of Hersiliidae is the extremely long posterior lateral spinnerets, which are often longer than the abdomen and sometimes approaching the total body length, hence the name two- tailed spiders. The body coloring is brown to match the color of the dry bark that the spider is normally resting on and camouflages well. The flattened body allows them to lie very close to the bark without casting any shadow or enables them to hide in the narrowest of cracks.

Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia
Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia

They are occasionally encountered on walls and rocks. When disturbed, the spider runs very swiftly to the opposite side of the tree with the spinnerets raised like a pair of horns. The spider sits on the tree trunk and spreads the silk over the nearby area. When a small insect comes close, the insect disturbs the silk and the spider senses this. The spider will quickly run around the insect in circles, with the insect in the center. The spider will also lay more silk at the same time, until the insect is entangled in it. They are active hunters living on tree trunks, old walls or under stones and at most spinning a scanty web of irregular threads. A total of six species of three genera are reported from India so far. Next day I saw the same spider with another grasshopper as its victim. I had another photo session with it which you can see in the last two photos on this page.

Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia
Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia

Hersilia Lucas 1836, is commonly called Two-tailed spider. Distributed throughout India, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka. Cephalothorax is flat and almost circular, slightly broader than long, with a prominently high clypeus. Anterior and posterior eyes are strongly recurved, anterior laterals positioned half way between the anterior and posterior medians. Legs, except the third pair, very long and slender and are armed with three claws. Tarsi of legs I, II and III two-segmented. Abdomen is flat, almost circular, slightly broader than long. Posterior lateral spinnerets are very long, much longer than the abdomen. The colour is greyish with a darkish lanceolate cardiac area and dark transverse margins posteriorly. Legs and spinnerets annulated with dark rings.

Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia
Two-Tailed Spider - Hersilia

It lives on tree trunks, often spotted on trunks of coconut palms in a head down position. It feeds on moths, ants and other smaller spiders. Cocoon is generally laid in the crevices of trees. It runs round the tree when disturbed. It is a very common spider in our tree barks and exhibits colour variation according to the substrate on which it is found.

EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/11 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 19 September, 2011 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4′ 2.1972″ N 74° 59′ 43.8828″ E | Shutter speed : 1/125s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/11 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 19 September, 2011 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4′ 2.1972″ N 74° 59′ 43.8828″ E | Shutter speed : 1/125s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/11 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 19 September, 2011 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4′ 2.1972″ N 74° 59′ 43.8828″ E | Shutter speed : 1/125s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/11 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 19 September, 2011 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4′ 2.1972″ N 74° 59′ 43.8828″ E | Shutter speed : 1/125s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/11 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 19 September, 2011 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4′ 2.1972″ N 74° 59′ 43.8828″ E | Shutter speed : 1/125s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.
EXIF info - Aperture : ƒ/11 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 19 September, 2011 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4′ 2.1972″ N 74° 59′ 43.8828″ E | Shutter speed : 1/125s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.

6 thoughts on “Two-Tailed Spider

  1. ಇದ್ದದ್ದಿದ್ದಂತೆ ಕೊಡುವುದು ವನ್ಯ ವೀಕ್ಷಕನ, ಪ್ರಾಕೃತಿಕ-ಚಾಯಾಚಿತ್ರಕನ ಶಿಸ್ತು ಸಂಹಿತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತುಂಬಾ ಮುಖ್ಯ ಒಪ್ಪಿದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಮಾದರಿಗೆ ವಿಶೇಷ ನೋವು ಆಗದಂತೆ, ಅದರ ಕಾಲಿಕ ಸ್ವಭಾವಗಳಿಗೆ ಹಿಂಸೆಯಾಗದಂತೆ ಒಮ್ಮೊಮ್ಮೆಯಾದರೂ ನೀವು ಹಸ್ತಕ್ಷೇಪ ಮಾಡಿ, ವರ್ತನ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನವನ್ನೂ ಕೊಡುವುದು ಅವಶ್ಯ ಎಂದು ನನಗೆ ಅನಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಈಗ ಇದರೆ ಕಾಲಿನ ಉಗುರುಗಳ ಬಳಕೆ ಬಿಡಿ, ದರ್ಶನವೂ ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿದಂತಿಲ್ಲ. ಅದರ ಜೋಡು ಬಾಲ (ಅದೇ ಸ್ಪಿನ್ನರೆಟ್ ಹೌದಾ?) ಅಂಟಿದಂತೇ ಇರುತ್ತದಾ ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕಗೊಳ್ಳುವುದೂ ಇದೆಯಾ? ಬೆದರಿದಾಗ ಅದರ ಗಾತ್ರ ಮೀರಿದ ಕೊಳ್ಳೆ (ಮಿಡತೆ) ಹೊತ್ತೋಡುತ್ತಾ ಬಿಟ್ಟೋಡುತ್ತಾ? ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ
    ಅಶೋಕವರ್ಧನ

  2. ಮಾನ್ಯ ಅಶೋಕರೇ,
    ನಾನು ಎರಡು ಸಲ ಈ ಜೇಡವನ್ನು ಚಿತ್ರಣ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದೂ ಅದರ ಬೇಟೆಯ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ. ಅದರ ಆಹಾರವನ್ನು ಕಸಿದು ವರ್ತನೆ ಕಲಿಯುವ ಮನಸ್ಸಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ. ನನ್ನ ಲೇಖನದ ಮೂರನೇ ಹಾಗೂ ನಾಲ್ಕನೇ ಪಾರಾದಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ಈ ಜೇಡದ ವರ್ತನೆ ವಿಜ್ನಾನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನಾನು ಓದಿ ತಿಳಿದುಕೊಂಡ ವಿಷಯವನ್ನು ವಿವರವಾಗಿ ಬರೆದದ್ದು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಗಮನಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದಿರಲಿಕ್ಕಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.

    ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಜೇಡಗಳಿಗಿರುವಂತೆ ಈ ಜೇಡಕ್ಕೂ ಇರುವ ಬಾಲದಿಂದ ಅದು ಬಲೆಯನ್ನು ಬೀಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಉಳಿದ ಜೇಡಗಳು ಬಲೆ ಹೆಣೆದು ಕೀಟಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಾದು ಕೂತರೆ, ಈ ಜೇಡ ಕೀಟಗಳ ಮೇಲೆ ಬಲೆಯನ್ನು ಎರಚಿ ಕೀಟಗಳನ್ನು ಹಿಡಿಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದಕ್ಕಾಗಿಯೇ ಅದರ ಬಾಲ ಉದ್ದ ಹಾಗೂ ದೊಡ್ಡದಾಗಿರಬೇಕು (ಅಗ್ನಿಶ್ಯಾಮಕ ದಳದವರ ನೀರಿನ ಪೈಪಿನಂತೆ). ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಾತ್ರದ ಕೊಳ್ಳೆ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಬಲೆಯಿಂದ ತಪ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದರಿಂದ ಈ ಜೇಡಕ್ಕೆ ಅಂತಹ ಕೊಳ್ಳೆಯನ್ನು ಹಿಡಿಯುವ ತೊಂದರೆ ಬರಲಾರದು.
    ಇಂತೀ
    ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಮೋಹನ

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