Another week and it’s another spider post. This time, it’s a spider that also likes posts.
One evening a couple of weeks ago I had logged off from work and went out into the garden to look at something other than an email. It was a warm evening and the sun was dipping below the surrounding roofs. I noticed a blemish on the fence, a place of macro dreams.
I identified the blemish immediately as a jumping spider but one bigger than the usual crowd. Even better, it was sitting still!
The grey-brown colouring of the spider helped to camouflage it against the sun-bleached wood of the fence. It was no surprise at all, when looking at my spider book later, that I learned this was a fencepost jumping spider!
Finding a jumping spider as relaxed as this and in an accessible position can raise the adrenaline levels, meaning you can lose composure and not get images that are in focus. That said, probably about 90% of macro photos I take are out of focus because the range is wafer thin. The stars aligned this time, however.
The spider was so still that there were no issues. It seemed quite interested by me and looked straight down the lens, as far as I could tell.
One of these images will certainly go down as portfolio worthy, at least in terms of happy memories. And really there’s no better place to end this post than looking into the eyes of Britain’s largest jumping spider!
Nymans is one of the jewels in the Sussex Weald, with amazing views across woodlands towards the South Downs. I usually photograph less formal landscapes than National Trust gardens, but perhaps I am too particular sometimes.… Continue reading April flowers at Nymans 🌹→
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Back in London and a chance to see what my Mum and Dad’s garden had to show for itself on the first day of May. This is when we really start to get into the pollinator season, which peaks in July. The weather was perfect for macro with no harsh light. The forget-me-nots were still… Continue reading Tooth of the lion 🦁→
I know that this blog has focused a lot on spiders this year. My spider knowledge is basic and these posts, their photos and required dip into spider ecology (arachnology) helps me to improve that knowledge. I recently purchased a spider ID guide (Britain’s Spiders by Bee, Oxford and Smith) and it’s helped me to gradually open a better understanding of these, well, misunderstood animals. I do wonder how much the tales of antipodean killer spiders has made people in England, where there are no venomous native spiders, needlessly fearful. Of course it’s different for arachnophobes.
My favourite group of spiders are the jumping spiders, the salticids. The first jumper I ever saw or photographed was one of the zebra spiders, of which we have three species in the UK. You can only identify them with microscopic assessment of their genitals, which is beyond this blog. Regardless, I found a zebra spider on the wall of my living room, which I now appreciate is just a giant invertebrate trap. I have actually also had a starling find its way in.
I knew this would be a good chance to try and get some good photos of the spider because there are few places to hide. I helped the spider onto my finger tip which, though the photo isn’t focused properly, does show how small (and harmless) it is.
And here is a reminder to you all of how most macro photos come out – out of focus. I suppose it’s half the fun.
Zebra spiders are beautiful inverts. Their name obviously comes from their black and white patterning.
One part of the spider that I really wanted to share is its fangs. They are seen below the pedipalps, what are effectively reporoductive organs for spiders. I presume the spider was hunting for prey, or perhaps even looking for a mate.
I helped the spider back out onto the windowsill where it wandered along the draught excluding brush. I hope it found what it was looking for (unless you were the thing it was looking for!).