Spidering around Kolkata, E.India !

Another fascinating part of field herping, along with all the other natural wonders we encounter, is the invertebrates! This forum is dedicated to both field and captive invertebrates.

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Mirza Shahzad
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Spidering around Kolkata, E.India !

Post by Mirza Shahzad »

When one talks about the biodiversity hotspots in India, Kolkata is usually not the first place that comes to your mind. The erstwhile capital of British India, it's an overwhelmingly crowded megacity. But here is an attempt to portray the spider diversity that manages to hang on in one of the most populous cities on earth. Unlike Bhubaneswar, where I am more used to documenting biodiversity, Kolkata has no proper wildlife sanctuary or natural, wild habitats around. So all the following species are from artificial green spots in and around the concrete jungle.

I was in Kolkata for a fortnight. But as it was a business trip, spider hunting was limited to weekends . Total field time consisted of : 3 morning walks around my guest house (in Newtown) averaging 2 hrs each, a day trip to Chintamani Kar Bird sanctuary (CKBS) and another day trip to Acharya Jagadish Botanical Garden . Last walk around Rajarhat swamps yielded only a Misumena /Misumenops.
I mainly documented species that are elusive/not found in my home region. So several other species were encountered that I didn't bother documenting.



Family: Araneidae


Araneus mitificus
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Nest of Araneus mitificus between leaf folds
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Araneus cf.viridisomus , a relatively large araneid
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Probably an Araneus sp. It was a large Araneid spider found resting inside a curled , dry leaf on its web.
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An amazing bird dropping mimicing spider, its a very rare and elusive record for Kolkata.
Cyrtarachne sp.
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Perhaps the most stunning and unexpected find from my 15 days in Kolkata is this Poltys sp. The epic epitome of camouflage, the spider resembles a piece of dry bark right down to its colouration,texture, cracks,patterns and broken outline structure. No amount of poking and disturbance that can be possibly meted out without harming the spider could bring it to open its tightly closed legs. The reliance and confidence it has on its camo is amazing. The most outstanding thing is the thorn like structure projecting on the dorsum.

Poltys sp.

Front view:
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Rear view:
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Side view:
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Top view:
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Eriovixia sp1
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Eriovixia sp2
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Cyclosa sp.

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Neoscona sp1
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A very large, well camouflaged Neoscona
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Argiope anasuja
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Family: Sparassidae

Olios sp1
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Olios sp2

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Probably some Olios

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Gnathopalystes sp.

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Family Thomisidae


Thomisus sp.

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Misumena/Misumenops sp.

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Amyciaea sp. Notice the false eyes on the abdomen of this amazing ant mimic crab spider !

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Tmarus sp.

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Indoxysticus sp.

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Camaricus sp.

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Family Tetragnathidae


Ariamnes sp.

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Tylorida sp.

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Family Theridiidae


Chrysso sp.

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Probably some species of Chrysso/Theridula

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Steatoda/Parasteatoda sp.

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Steatoda/Parasteatoda sp. with youngs in nest.

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Phoroncidia cf. septemaculeata

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Family Oxyopidae


Oxyopes sp. feeding on a Leucage decorata (Tetragnathidae)

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Peucetia sp.

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This Green Lynx spider (Peucetia) is photographed in-situ ie. on the exact spot and plant it was found on , without any handling. The camouflage is insane, with the purple stripe on ventral of the spider matching exactly with that of the plant stems.

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Hamataliwa sp.

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Family Uloboridae


Uloborus sp.

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Family Salticidae

Thiania bhamoensis , with stunning metallic glitter

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Asemonea tenuipes

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Thyene bivittata

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Phintella versicolor

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Myrmarachne sp1, Ant mimic jumping spider

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Myrmarachne sp2, though it can also be probably some completely different/undescribed genus

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I missed out on several target Salticid species including Siler, Chrysilla, Zebraplatys, Epeus, Portia and Rhene. Maybe the season was not the best for jumping spider activity, though I found dozens of Thiania at CKBS. Another reason to visit Kolkata in the near future, maybe !

Cheers !
Mirza


At Acharya Jagadish Botanical Garden

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PAHerper1
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Re: Spidering around Kolkata, E.India !

Post by PAHerper1 »

Very cool post. Thanks for sharing.

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Spidering around Kolkata, E.India !

Post by BillMcGighan »

Super cool post, even to us who are "arachnid challenged". :thumb: :thumb:

Besides the wonderful photography, I couldn't help be be impressed of the long, carefully searching hours it must have taken to accumulate all these.

I'm totally really impressed with the fact that you even found the "bark looking" spider!

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Mirza Shahzad
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Re: Spidering around Kolkata, E.India !

Post by Mirza Shahzad »

PAHerper1, Bill. Thanks a lot for the kind words. Glad that you liked the post :beer: :D

@ Bill : yes, it did take a lot of time and sweat to find these. But the incentive is that almost every bush you look in carefully , you will find something new or interesting. Unlike herping here , where even after a lot of hard work you might have to go return home without seeing any herps. I was also keeping my eyes out for some vine snakes or bronzebacks. But in all my time in Kolkata, despite visiting several promising habitats , I didn't see a SINGLE herp : no common skink, gecko, frog, toad or even a Calotes !

The bark mimic Poltys was found by sheer luck. A piece of dry acorn like thing on a green frond caught my sight . I thought, no way it should be what I think it is ! But indeed it was :crazyeyes:

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Spidering around Kolkata, E.India !

Post by Kelly Mc »

Ive looked at this post many times and enjoyed it anew.

The bark knoll camouflage, magnificent. And the Araneus with the ornate blotch that looks like an upside down painting of a zombie teddy bear feasting on intestines - Superb.

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