Say Trees! A Spider That’s All Smiles

If you’re the least bit arachnophobic, you probably wouldn’t enjoy reading a post about spiders. But what if I told you just the sight of these Hawaiian spiders would brighten your day?

The Happy Face Spider wears just that on its abdomen, a happy face! Down to the very fine details of arched eyebrows and a bright smiling mouth, there’s no question how this little guy got its name. It’s known to roam the rain forests on Oahu, Maui, Molokai and the Big Island and is actually endemic to the islands, which means it’s not naturally found anywhere else in the world.

Hikers might see the spiders hiding on the undersides of leaves. That’s where they build their delicate webs and catch their prey. These tiny arachnids only grow to be a few millimeters big, so you might need a magnifying glass to see the smiley face.

The good news is that they’re not poisonous to humans. Each spider tends to look differently from one another, depending on which island they’re on; some don’t have any markings at all. Some, I’ve heard, have markings that go against their name; instead of a smiling face, they wear a frown.

I’m still on the hunt to see a Happy Face Spider up close. As a kid, I remember reading a picture book about them and drawing pictures of the spiders for class. I’ve yet to find one. What amazes me most is how such a small spider can be classified as one of nature’s most magnificent creatures. On an unrelated note, a person swallows an average of eight spiders in his/her sleep. Let’s just hope it’s not one of these little guys!

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