Updated: Aug 26, 2019
The Teide National Park is located in the heart of the island of Tenerife, which comprises the stratovolcano of the same name and the enormous volcanic caldera of Las Cañadas that surrounds it. The harsh and extreme climate of the park creates an environment that favors speciation. The arachnids are the most well represented invertebrates of the park: of the 101 species present, 70 are endemic and 22 are exclusive of the park. The Teide tiger spider is included in this last group.
The attractively patterned Teide tiger spider (Aculepeira annulipes) is characterized by the oak leaf mark on its abdomen and its banded legs, hence the specific name (Latin: «annulus», "ring" and «pes», "foot"). They build their spiriform webs of remarkable resistance on plants of Spartocytisus supranubius. They can be found in abundance during the spring, when a large number of arthropods –and their predators– are attracted by the bloom. They prey on a wide array of arthropods, from bees and butterflies (Cyclyrius webbianus) to robber flies and other spiders (Thomisus onustus).
The sexual dimorphism is very evident and cannibalism is a common behavior. For this reason, during the courtship, the small male approaches the female while vibrating the silk with caution to be recognized by her. In case she confuses him with prey, he would be devoured without regard.