I caught this beautiful jumping
spider (Phidippus audax) in my yard a few weeks ago. I had been keeping it in a
jar and dropping in a fly every couple of days to watch it hunt. Members of
Salticidae, the jumping spider family, stalk their prey and leap on them from a
few cm away. They are not passive hunters like orb weavers.
As a kid, my brother and I would
catch jumping spiders all the time. We called the spiders furries –that name
has an entirely different meaning on the web now (you can search that yourself
–no link for you).
Once captured, we’d create vivariums
for the spiders. Most commonly, we’d cut a window into a cardboard gallon milk
container and tape a piece of cling wrap over the opening. We’d add some twigs
and other flora and eventually would toss in a fly and watch the hunt. I had this in mind when I caught
this girl –sharing with my boys who are 9 and 11.
Interest was high for a few days and
then only I would be enthralled by the hunt. She didn’t always get the fly on
the first leap…but of course in a closed container the fly hadn’t a chance.
Today I decided to take some macro
photos of the P. audax. I really wanted to capture a nice focus stack. So to
slow the spider down I refrigerated it for 15 mins and then posed it on a
beautiful stone that I had chilled as well.
Unfortunately, that slowed her down
but she rarely held still for more than a couple seconds. I wasn’t able to grab
a good stack so I stopped down to f/22 for a little more depth of field and
shot with an off-camera ring flash suspended above the jumping spider.
Not what I had aimed for but the
journey was still fun and steeped in nostalgia.
New Jersey’s Best Wedding Photographers