This is a small male spider I came across while in Dinosaur Provincial Park last year. I saw it in wandering over a grass-head – I took a few photos for reference and left it at that. But after having it identified, and seeing some cool images of Microlinyphia body plan, I now wish that I had spent more time photographing this little chap. Visible in the above photo is the palps and the amazingly long embolus. What I didn’t notice at first glance was how large (relatively) the chelicerae are!
John Hancock, author and illustrator of the soon-to-be-released book, Spiders of Western Canada, has allowed me to use one of his images, showing the profile of Microlinyphia sp. which shows more clearly the amazing length of both the chelicerae and the embolus.
The genus Microlinyphia are in the Linyphiidae family, also known as sheetweavers due to the style of webs they weave.In an email to the AlbertaBugs group, I speculated that this may be an ant mimic due to the pinched abdomen. John Hancock agreed, saying that the gait when running was also quite ant-like.
Thanks to Robin Leech for the ID, and to John Hancock for the drawings.
(Photographed on 30 May, 2012. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta)