These Spiders Won’t Panic at the Disco

The silver spider of the clouds, Chrysometa tenuipes, from the family Tetragnathidae. (Photo by Elicio Tapia)

With a mirrorball for a body, Chrysometa tenuipes has nothing to worry about when it hits the clubs.

When the music is right and it’s feeling good, the silvery guanine patches on its abdomen will swell and shimmer and turn heads left and right.

When it’s time for a break the patches shrink up and a dull brown overcoat will help deter any unwanted attention.

This blue little critter is the first Telemidae spider discovered in South America. (Photo by Elicio Tapia)

Want to see this critter for yourself? You’d be better off in the cloud forest of Ecuador’s Chocó region than on the dance floor. That’s where this one was photographed, on an expedition led by National Geographic grantee Nadine Dupérré.

Little is known about the diversity of spiders in Ecuador, but Nadine recently returned with a wealth of new information—plus photos of species never recorded there before.

This tiny blue-bottomed spider is one of them. Though members of the Telemidae family are found in many caves in the western United States, this is the first one identified in South America.

How’s that possible? For starters, it’s less than a millimeter long. For finishers, it lives hidden in the moss of the aforementioned cloud forests.

Despite its small size though, it makes its presence known. A male will rub his hind legs on a ridge on his abdomen to produce sound, though probably not a sound the average human can hear while walking through the jungle.

Female Micrathena pilaton, the dark queen of the cloud forest. (Photo by Elicio Tapia)

This terrifying specimen is more than ten times the size of the previous one! It is a true monster, measuring a spine-tingling one centimeter in length.

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