Malaysia post issued a set of four stamps featuring various spiders found in the country. The spiders are Fighting Spider, Curved Spiny Spider, St Andrew’s Cross Spider, Golden Orb-web Spider some of which are poisonous also.
The species is iridescent green-blue. Females are more green, males more blue. From the front view, the female’s face are black. And the males are white.
These spiders build a silken retreat by binding a pair of green leaves together, where they rest, moult and lay their eggs, which is unusual for a jumping spider. Making a single rivet to attach the leaves takes about half an hour. About four to ten rivets are arranged in a roughly elliptical manner. These nests are built by both sexes and juveniles. Although T. bhamoensis can be found on many kinds of plants, it most often chooses Crinum asiaticum (spider lily).
Because two males will readily fight each other, either in a natural setting, or if put together, they are commonly known as “fighting spider” in South-east Asia. These spiders are commonly kept in matchboxes with a piece of green leaf and a spat of saliva for moisture. A spider that wins fight after fight gets the status of “first king”.
Spiders of the Gasteracantha genus build vertical orb-webs with an open hub which are easily recognised. They have a hard, flat body armed with three pairs of spines on the edge of the abdomen. The spinnerets are elevated on a large projection and surrounded by a sclerotised ring-like structure.
In Singapore, the spider can be found only among tree branches on Bukit Timah Hill.
This species appears very similar to Argiope pulchella. Both have a pentagonal abdomen. The flat, oval, whitish egg-sac has a papery texture and is often suspended near the web. Argiope spiders make webs which are suspended vertically 1-2 metres from the ground.
The web of mature female spiders of this genus can be easily recognised by the X-shaped zigzag bands of white silk in the centre of the web.
The brilliantly coloured spider with silvery hair on the carapace sits head down in the centre of the web, and holds its legs in pairs in such a way that they appear to be aligned to the four arms of the letter ‘X’. The males are dull in colour and like the females, have the habit of pairing their legs. Their webs are, however, decorated by a lace-like centre, instead of white bands in the shape of the letter ‘X’.
The Golden Orb Web Spider is not the largest spider, but makes the largest and strongest web. It gets its name from the golden colour of its silk.
The web can run from the top of a tree 6m high and up to 2m wide. Unlike other spider webs, the Golden Orb Web Spider’s web is not dismantled often and can last several years.
Designed to catch large flying insects, the web is slightly angled. It is not a perfect wheel and is usually off-centre. To make its web, the spider releases a thin thread into the wind. When it catches on something, the spider walks along it trailing a stronger non-sticky thread. It repeats the process in the centre of the line to form a strong Y-frame. Around this, it spins the rest of the web out of sticky capture silk.
The silk is so strong that it can trap small birds, which the spider doesn’t eat. These trapped creatures often destroy the web by thrashing around. To avoid such damage, the spider often leaves a line of insect husks on its web (like the safety strip across glass doors!); or builds smaller barrier webs around the main web.
Date of Issue: 7 December 2009
Denominations: 30 sen, 30 sen, 50 sen, RM1 and Miniature Sheet RM5
30 sen: Fighting Spider – Thiania bhamoensis
30 sen: Curved Spiny Spider – Gasteracantha arcuata
50 sen: St Andrew’s Cross Spider – Argiope versicolor
RM1: Golden Orb-web Spider – Nephila maculata
RM5: Black Scorpion – Heterometrus longimanus
The Malaysian Earth Tiger Tarantula – Cyriopagopus schioedtei
Post submitted by Mohd Nizamuddin Safie from Malaysia
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