I met a new spider today–Phidippus whitmani. This one appears not to have a common name, though a related species is known as the red velvet jumping spider.
Yesterday, I noted that the red-spotted newt uses warning colouration to tell predators it is toxic. This jumping spider uses the same sort of colouration, but in this case, the warning is a lie.
Like other members of its genus, this spider protects itself by pretending to be a velvet ant with a powerful sting. Unfortunately for this spider, who had to put up with my attentions, I wasn’t fooled, and instead was quite taken by his fuzzy red velvet.
I was pleased to see today one of my favourite North American animals, the red-spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens). These colourful little salamanders have a complex life cycle that includes an aquatic larval stage, a terrestrial juvenile (eft) stage, and an aquatic adult. The terrestrial efts, like this one, are brightly coloured.
Like most bright colours in animals, the red skin and spots of the red-spotted newt are a warning. The red-spotted newt has toxic skin secretions that protect it from predators. This toxic defence gives red-spotted newts the ability to live in permanent bodies of water with fish in them, unlike many other salamanders which fall prey to fish, and rely on temporary pools.