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Micrathena Sagittata | Conheça a aranha que parece o Pikachu

As cores brilhantes da Micrathena sagittata, encontrada em Honduras, provavelmente ajudam a aranha a atrair suas presas, enquanto seus espinhos servem como mecanismo de defesa. ainda que os pokémons não sejam reais, o abdômen desta aranha é.

Enquanto conduzia pesquisas nas florestas de Honduras, o explorador da National Geographic Jonathan Kolby encontrou a criação da natureza mais próxima do amado Pokémon amarelo, Pikachu.

A parte posterior do abdômen desta aranha, uma Micrathena sagittata, possui marcas amarela brilhante com dois espinhos na parte traseira com pontas pretas. Ao lado desta estrutura parecida com o Pikachu podem ser vistos uma sequência de espinhos mais ameaçadores que a adorável criatura dos desenhos. O resto do corpo da aranha avermelhado brilhante quase parecido com a cor de uma formiga. 

Quando Kolby viu pela primeira vez a Micrathena em seu local de pesquisa, no Parque Nacional Cusuco, a primeira coisa que notou foi a característica de desenho animado do animal. “Essas protuberâncias pontudas e excepcionais no seu abdômen me chamaram a atenção de imediato! ”, escreveu em um e-mail. Apesar de ser a primeira vez que um especialista em anfíbios avistou essa espécie de aranha em Honduras, as Micrathenas com forma de flecha estão em toda América do Norte, e são muito comuns nos Estados Unidos. Embora, sejam difíceis de serem vistas, já que são muito pequenas. Com o dobro do tamanho dos machos, as fêmeas podem crescer até 1 centímetro (patas inclusas).

Seu abdômen amarelo, que ocorrem apenas nas fêmeas, costumam chamar atenção. Cientistas acreditam que isso poderia ajudá-la a caçar insetos. Um artigo publicado em 2002 na revista Ecological Entomology descrevia uma aranha australiana com um abdômen preto e amarelo, e concluiu que o abdômen brilhante poderia ajudá-la a atrair suas presas. Com um pincel atômico, pesquisadores removeram a cor amarela de suas costas. As aranhas cujas cores haviam sido ocultadas tiveram na média menos sucesso na hora de capturar suas presas. Assim como a Micrathena com forma de flecha, as aranhas australianas são predadoras que “sentar e esperar” pelas presas em grandes teias.

Ainda que a cor amarela possa atrair as presas, os espinhos mantem a distância os predadores. Kolby explicou que, por causa dos espinhos, animais como pássaros tem dificuldade em comer as pequenas criaturas. Quando descobriu a aranha em Honduras, ela estava descansando em uma teia suspensa sobre o solo. Tirou a foto e a deixou em paz, sem a necessidade de incomodá-la.

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