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Smallest Mature Male? - Trogloneta paradoxa - male

Smallest Mature Male? - Trogloneta paradoxa - Male
Eugene, Lane County, Oregon, USA
February 13, 2019
Size: ~0.65mm
Smaller than a Araneus diadematus babies that I've seen before. My god was this thing small beyond belief. I found it hanging off some Lobaria lichen at the park. It was raining, so I thought there would be something hiding underneath such large leafy lichen. I collected this expecting it to be immature and not even identifiable, but was surprised to see the swollen palps.

The abdomen was slightly taller than it was long. There's no way for me to get better pictures than this one. If someone wants this spider in order to do just that, let me know and I can stick it in ethanol, as it's currently still with me. It's so small that I'm not sure what it can even eat, coupled with the fact that it's a mature male, I reckon it'll probably not live a lot longer. With it being so small I don't really know how to keep it alive other than just to leave it alone in a tiny container.

Images of this individual: tag all
Smallest Mature Male? - Trogloneta paradoxa - male Smallest Mature Male? - Trogloneta paradoxa - male Smallest Mature Male? - Trogloneta paradoxa - male Smallest Mature Male? - Trogloneta paradoxa - male

Moved from Mysmenidae.

Moved from Spiders.

The palps have ...
a penultimate look to them. I’m not positive. I would try to make sure it at least stays hydrated - a small peice of damp papertowel works. The few times I kept very small spiders I just added some soil to the container (got to be sure there’s nothing in there that would eat him though) and they seemed to live off of invisible things. I don’t think I’ve kept anything quite that small though. I expect Theridiidae but it isn’t one I know. I hope someone recognizes it, nice find.

I've got soil in there and a damp piece of toilet paper. It's in my smallest container (barely larger than a film canister), though, as the spider is about the size of the air holes. Any larger and I wouldn't even be able to find the guy.

It's currently hanging upside down on the ceiling of the container with a tiny web that I can't see.

I read that some spiders can eat pollen, so I'll try to add some natural stuff, and maybe the smallest springtails I can find.

If it does end up dying, I'll probably stick it in ethanol until I can get it to someone for a hopeful ID. I assume being so small has no effect on how well it preserves.

with Laura.
It does appear to be a penultimate, or subadult, male Theridiid.

Might be Tidarren, but don't know extent of range off the top of my head, and it should have only one palp at this stage I believe, so maybe not...

Maybe one of those weird Theridiosomatidae, but again, not familiar with range or US genera.

Definitely try to rear. And if possible, pics of web if you can would be a big help.
Nice find.

It keeps on just hanging from the top. If it even did build a web, it gets ruined when I open the container.

Would there be an easy way to determine if it molted? It's so small I don't know if I'd even see an exuvia.

The palps ...
In particular would likely look less like blobs of jelly. How’s he doing? I hope he molts.

Smallest spider
I found another one of the same species, also a mature male. The original is still alive as well. Do you think I should send one of them off somewhere to be identified?

Sure, you’d probably get a firm ID quicker that way. I feel like I’ve seen that abdominal pattern in a diagram somewhere before so you might eventually get an ID from this image but I have no idea where I saw it or if I’m just thinking of something remotely similar, no telling how long you’d be waiting.

Sent them in, got an ID
Through the microscope you could see an almost turret-like projection on the carapace that held the eyes. Ken Schneider brought them to Darrell Ubick, who was able to identify them. They're Mysmenids, Trogloneta paradoxa.

Ken said he may post more pictures of them in a bit.

Very cool!
I’ll make the placement pages for you in a bit if Jeff isn’t already on it. Edit: I see that isn’t necessary.

Such a cool spider,
thank you for sending it out for a proper ID and sharing it.

He's just chilling at the top of the container, not doing anything. He's on a web of some kind, but it only has a couple strands to keep him midair. He appears to be doing well, but then again, how would I know? Judging that he's staying in a web and now walking about leads me to also believe he's not quite mature.

I moved him to a slightly larger container, nearly losing him in the process, but with a flashlight and a lot of determination I found him again.

as small as it is, it would in fact be larger, but with a more ‘slender’ abdomen after molt, but again, at that size probably hard to tell.

It is pretty fascinating the tiny size of some spiders. I found an adult female Opopaea last night, and like your spider it’s smaller than the average spiderling such as Araneus.

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