Spider butt reveals God

I’m convinced that the famous “Jesus-in-a-dog-butt” picture is a Photoshop job, but this one, showing the rear of a Mexican trapdoor spider, is undoubtedly authentic. And what it proves is that the One True God is the Aztec Sun God. Clearly the sensus divinitatis was really installed not in the Middle East, but in Mesoamerica.

Picture 1

It’s also a really cool spider, and the patterns of its butt-plug are completely mysterious to me.

h/t: Twi**er of Zia Tong via Matthew Cobb



  1. reasonshark
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know… you sure this isn’t a photoshop? The back end could just be stuck onto a photo of its front end, to me. Adjust for lighting, and it doesn’t even matter that they don’t blend into each other.

    I don’t trust it just yet…

  2. jaxkayaker
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Pretty cool spider.

    BTW, Richard Dawkins tw**ted (or re-tw**ted) your tw**t of this post.

  3. Grania Spingies
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    There are very similar photos on this page:

    The site lists them as the Ravine Trapdoor Spider.

  4. Greg Esres
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s the drawing I’m suspicious of….I see only vague resemblances when I Google on “Mesoamerican Sun God”.

    • Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re taking this too seriously, Greg!

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      This site (in Spanish) says it is the Zapotec god that people are reminded of:

      A google image search for Zapotec god does show up something not unlike it. As pareidolia goes, it’s not bad 🙂

    • Posted May 12, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Using Google image search, the image of the “god” that appears next to the spider turns up only in a series of images on coffee cups, t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, etc. sold on Zazzle. Although billed on Zazzle as the “Zapotec-sun god”, before declaring a miracle, it might be better to find out if the Zazzle artist may have drawn inspiration from the spider. Images of the Zapotec sun god that I have found outside of Zazzle do not resemble the Zazzle “sun god” image.

      • eric
        Posted May 13, 2014 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        Even if they did, the same logic could apply: there’s no reason we should assume the Zapotec were unfamiliar with the spider.

  5. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    And why not the Sun God? He (or she or ‘it’) would be SO much better (I’d have said cooler but, you know…) than some grouchy, Republican, anthropomorphic senior citizen type obsessed with pee-pees and koochies.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted May 13, 2014 at 3:05 am | Permalink

      You think Junior isn’t the Sun god?

      • Posted May 13, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Jesus is an archetypal sun god. Turning water into wine and walking on water are the two signature “calling cards” of the genre. Also re-read the Lord’s Prayer, and consider “Our Father” to be the Sun and you’ve got a perfect fit — especially for an agrarian society. All-seeing, bringer of life, the light of the world whose face you cannot look upon; it’s all there.

        Of course, the Christians did manage to pervert it. Sun gods die at the winter solstice, lay low in the ground for three days, and are resurrected (when the Sun resumes its northward journey), and they’re born in Spring when the Earth comes back to life.

        That perversion is further reflected in Jesus’s syncretic alter-ego as a death god. It’s the gods of the underworld who judge the lives of the dead and who consign them to eternal doom and gloom. These same death gods are also nasty, violent characters scheming to bring about the destructive cataclysm at the end of time.

        Is it any wonder Christianity is so fucked up? Their central god is an avatar for both the Sun / life and judgment / death.



  6. inkydisaster
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I work with d*gs, and I’ve seen Jesus in many of their butts.

    Perhaps I share too much?

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re right. You can see Jesus in every other beagle butt.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      The butt of our dog looks kind of like Moses.

  7. tom
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    How often do you get to write “the patterns of its butt plug” in a post on biology?

  8. Posted May 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    “Cyclocosmia truncata faces head-down in its burrow, locks itself in place, and uses its abdomen as a plug to deter attackers.” Therefore, the unusual rump markings are a form of camouflage intended to make predators believe they are looking at a Cambrian fossil.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted May 13, 2014 at 3:08 am | Permalink

      According to the Zhu et al. paper linked above, the rump markings are ‘six muscle impressions’. Of course, they can have functions as well as homologies so that’s no reason you’re not right.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted May 13, 2014 at 3:10 am | Permalink

        I see lkr (below) already made my point.

  9. marksolock
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  10. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    The butt plug makes good sense as a defense against predators, but the pattern has me stumped.
    Maybe to a predatory wasp (a major threat to spiders) the pattern looks like a big wasp face that says ‘move on’. It does sort of look like a wasp face, and maybe to a wasp it does the trick.

    • lkr
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      A few comments: these are trapdoor spiders with the tunnel normally concealed by a well-camouflaged hinged door — the whole lined with a tough layer of silk. Normally the spiders wait head-first to spring out on passing prey.

      The butt-plug is a second [or third, if one counts the well-concealed door], coming into play if an invader can pry open the door. I suspect it’s usually deployed against specialized predators, perhaps wasps, or against small mammals that might be able both to detect the burrow chemically and to prize or chew through the door.

      So the radial pattern is very unlikely to be a visual adaptation — much more likely that the radial bands strengthen the disc and increase the radial force against the walls of the burrow [like a spoked wheel]. As for the squarish medallions within the radial pattern — in the paper referenced above, these are referred to as muscle attachment areas, or rather the external pattern created by invaginations of the cuticle where powerful muscles are attached. I’d guess that these muscles flatten the disc to grip the burrow walls..

      Note also that this is a really ancient genus, occurring in Mesoamerica, SE and SW US, and se Asia. OR evidence for von Daniken that Khmer and Mayan temples were built by space-faring spider gods..

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Very good! I think that can explain it. Curious there is a bilateral asymmetry to the central pattern, but that might be due to asymmetry of internal organs that effect muscle attachment patterns.

      • Posted May 13, 2014 at 1:00 am | Permalink

        Sometimes I wished I could give thumbs up to a reply. Unfortunately it’s not possible here. But thank you for your explanation! 🙂

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted May 13, 2014 at 4:36 am | Permalink

        In the Australian shield-backed trapdoor spider Idiosoma, the sclerotised and wrinkly round opisthosomal shield (i.e. butt plug sensu Prof CC) is considered mainly a defence against parasitic wasps, but you can’t stop evolution, and there is a wasp with a particularly slender ovipositor adapted to slip between the plug and the burrow wall….

  11. Posted May 13, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink


  12. mjg
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    God is everywhere! I saw him in Tesco the other day dishing out free cake. He’ll do anything these days to get you onside.

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