As the week is winding down, I figured everyone could use a good smile to help get them through til Friday. I am willing to bet that today’s animal will put a smile on everybody’s face. In fact, even the Happy Face Spider is smiling, so if he can do it then so can you. Believe it or not, that picture is not photo-shopped or doctored in any way. I know, it is hard to believe that a spider can be so incredibly happy but the proof is right there on its back. Perhaps we should take a minute and find out why this spider is in such a great mood.
The Happy Face Spider is technically known as the Theridion grallator but that isn’t nearly as much fun so we are going to stick with their adopted common name. This uplifting spider is found among the islands of Hawaii, where it was given the local name “nananana makaki’i” which simply means Face-Patterned Spider. The Hawaiian name is probably the most accurate since not all species of this spider has the distinct happy face shown above. I suppose the species pictured above was the first one to fall asleep at the last “nananana makaki’i” party. I just hope for the spider’s sake that it is a washable marker.
So what is the purpose of the smiley face? Well, it is believed that this face-pattern is a great defense mechanism towards birds. After all, would you want to eat a large emoticon, if you were a bird? Okay, so maybe it isn’t that large of an emoticon since the Happy Face Spider is only a few millimetres in length. Nonetheless, I am pretty sure it would catch the birds off guard, and hopefully provide the spider with a few seconds to escape while their predator tries to figure out what they are looking at.
Happy Face Spider Fast Fact – Although, they are not yet listed on the IUCN list, the Happy Face Spider is becoming threatened since they live in very specialized habitat on the islands of Hawaii. Unfortunately, this habitat is at risk from the introduction of non-native species. It would be an incredibly sad day if the Happy Face Spider ceases to exist.
Well, I hope you are smiling now because I know I am. Enjoy the rest of your day and I will see you tomorrow.