I came back from a walk the other day and, customarily, went straight to wash my hands. Looking in the mirror, I noticed something small dangling from my hair. Having just been on a walk my nature senses were fine-tuned and I realised it was an invertebrate. Looking more closely and removing it from my hair with care, I realised it was, one – alive, and two – a jumping spider.
I am fortunate enough not to have any fear of these spiders and, unlike a close friend, I’m not arachnophobic. I also have them fresh in my mind, after having a species of a nationally scarce spider confirmed by the county recorder earlier this week.
I looked at this tiny spider as it rested on my hand and thought, ‘it’s the same species’. I had my camera with me but perhaps not the best lens, i.e. not a macro, but one with some close-focusing capabilities. I took the spider outdoors, anxious that it might jump and never get outside again. I took photos with what I had. Without a macro lens I had to crop the images heavily in post-processing.
Looking at the photos, I am confident it is the same species again, Ballus chalybeius, the oak jumping spider. That confidence is boosted even more by this purchase, which arrived in the post the other day:
I have no idea where this particular spider came from – possibly from any of the oak trees I walked under? The book above states that the species is one of the only ones found only in trees and bushes. Its common name is oak jumping spider, which means I may have picked it up during my walk as there are no oaks anywhere near my house or along the street. It could also means it’s more common than is understood. That’s the beauty of community science!
Thanks for reading.
4 thoughts on “Macro 📷: the oak jumping spider returns”
Fascinating, Daniel – I love jumping spiders, and this one looks like a cracker! Britain’s Spiders is an excellent field guide too. Your macro photographs are fantastic btw 🙂
Hello! Thanks so much for your comment. Your blog is great. Jumping spiders are wonderful but very elusive, which makes having a nationally scarce one in my hair more, well, perplexing! 😂
My earliest memory of being fascinated by an invertebrate is watching a jumping spider stalk and then jump onto a fly that was ‘washing its hands’ on a concrete block in our East London garden. After that, I practically lived there, and Mum used to complain that all her spoons went missing because I was using them to dig up all the beetle grubs 🙂
I can’t remember seeing a jumping spider as a child, and society only ever taught me to fear them! That’s a vivid memory 🕷️