Whenever I’m hanging out on the deck, I keep my camera, and the macro lens handy!
This first wee one is a jumping spider. Probably it’s a female Hentzia miitrata, sometimes called a white jawed jumping spider. I’ve found them on the deck before. So cute. And just look at the tiny worm it has for lunch! The worm is probably 3mm long.
Both of those were shot with only the 90mm macro, but I could have used the 25mm extension tube. That’s why I grabbed it when I found this guy –
When I saw the pedipalps in the camera, I knew it was a male right away because they are so large and furry. The primary use of their palps is for mating. They use them to place their sperm packets inside females. It’s tiny; just 5-6mm without the legs. I couldn’t ID it just from this shot and it was really hard to see with the naked eye so I got this shot, too –
This was a little more helpful. From the legs and the body composition, I figured it was a type of orb weaver. With many spiders, it’s hard to tell what species a male is unless he’s with a female. The males are notoriously nondescript next to their ladies. And they’re usually much smaller, too. This one could be a neoscona crucifera (Hentz orbweaver) or a lariniodes cornutus (furrow orbweaver). It’s really hard to be sure since the markings can vary a lot within each species. Both are local to here and are equally likely.
I love photographing spiders and trying to ID them. After years of looking, I finally found a really helpful book – Common Spiders of North America by Richard Alan Bradley & Steve Buchanan. It was published a few years ago and is a fantastic resource, especially for us regular folks. Highly recommended!
I have to admit that I find macro studies of insects rather scary – really horrifying if you want to know – but at the same time I love the details and beauty! The tiny worlds around us are so under appreciated that it is really miraculous we see them at all.
Thanks, -N-. I used to feel that way, too, but I’ve eased up a lot. I don’t even try to kill every wasp/hornet I see anymore. And I’ve even started handling a lot of bugs – beetles, dragonflies, spiders, butterflies. Beetle feet are absolutely adorable. Once you look past their utter alien-ness, they can be quite interesting if not exactly beautiful all the time!