On the road to Oaxaca

Here in Ixtlán de Juárez we took the day off from collecting to catch up with our processing of specimens. We collect the spiders live. When we return from the field, we sort them to species, choose ones to photograph, and preserve the rest, freeing up their vials for the next day. The photographs take a while, and when you add it to the basic note-taking and other duties (we hope to do videos!), we usually don’t quite get done the day’s tasks. Today I had a big pile of spiders that took most of the day to photograph.

So, a belated #Mexigonus2017 report on our trip down from Mexico City. The drive was smooth on the big toll highways, and of course we chose to make a few stops to look quickly for spiders. The highlight of the day for me was to find Habronattus nahuatlanus (at least, that’s what I think it is) at Santa María Tinú and to learn its habitat — in or under grass clumps, just like the recently described H. luminosus from Arizona. Here is the male, and female. The female wasn’t known before, so it’s good to see what it looks like.

Habronattus nahuatlanus, male (top row) and female (bottom row)

We’ve had many successes in subsequent days, and I’ll report on purple tomatoes, green ghosts, and blue-legged magic as soon as I can, perhaps not in chronological order.

By the way, for English speakers who don’t know Spanish, “Oaxaca” is pronounced (more or less) as the English “Wahaca”.

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