Posts Tagged ‘Phidippus audax’

I know that spring has truly arrived when I start to walk around with a macro lens on my camera. I captured this shot of a Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax) on the boardwalk yesterday at Huntley Meadows Park.

As I was walking into the park, a departing fellow photographer alerted me to the presence of the spiders, so I changed lenses in the hope that I would see one. Most of the winter months I have been using my Tamron 150-600mm lens to shoot birds and other wildlife, but I had my Tamron 180mm macro lens with me. It’s amazing how my field of vision changes with the shift in lenses. With the long lens, I am used to looking up and out, in part because it has a minimum focus distance of 8.9 feet (1.7 meters). With the macro lens, I am am scanning a much smaller area, primarily near my feet and just beyond.

Eventually I located a jumping spider. It seemed to be spending most of its time in the cracks between the synthetic boards of the boardwalk, but occasionally would venture out. Despite its name, the Bold Jumping Spider seemed to be pretty timid. In fact, I never did see it jump—it seemed content to crawl slowly.

The coolest thing about jumping spiders, of course, is their eyes. I am absolutely mesmerized by their multiple eyes and I was really happy that I was able to capture some reflections in the eyes. The reflections are most noticeable in the head-on shot, but they are also visible in the action shot. It’s a fun challenge to try to capture action when this close to a subject, but somehow I managed, though the higher shutter speed needed when shooting handheld meant that that my depth of field was pretty limited.

Bold Jumping Spider

Bold Jumping Spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I’m not big on ghosts and goblins, so to celebrate Halloween I though I’d include a few recent images of spiders that I have not posted previously. Some of my readers may find certain spiders to be creepy and utterly appropriate for Halloween, though I tend to view as beautiful creatures, many of which are capable of creating beautiful web art.

Happy Halloween to all.

NOTE: If you click on any one of the images in the mosaic, you will be taken into slide show mode, where you will see larger versions of the images (when you are viewing the original posting).

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This past Friday I spotted one of my favorite spiders, the Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax), in the reeds adjacent to the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park. The spider was pretty active and jumped a couple of times, but I managed to get a shot that highlights its multiple eyes and colorful “fangs.”

“Here’s looking at you, kid.”


Bold Jumping Spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As a follow-up to last week’s preview, here is the complete story of my recent encounter with a Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax) and a female Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis). The photos are a bit graphic, particularly for those of us who like dragonflies, but they illustrate the reality of nature that even super predators like dragonflies can easily become prey.

dragon1A_spider_blogAs I was walking at my local marshland park, I spotted a bright green dragonfly perched on the boardwalk and suspected immediately that it was a female Eastern Pondhawk. I moved in slowly to get a shot and was a bit surprised when the dragonfly did not take off when I got close. This is the initial view I had of the dragonfly.

dragon3_spider_blogI looked closely at the dragonfly and noticed that it was lying on its side and appeared to be dead. Wondering what might have caused its demise, I picked up the dragonfly’s body to do some amateur forensic analysis. (I obviously watched to many televisions shows about crime scene investigations.) As I lifted the body toward my eyes, I was shocked to find that a fuzzy black spider was still attached to it. Apparently the spider had been hiding in the gap between the boards as it feasted on the dragonfly.

Somewhat in shock, I dropped the dragonfly back onto the boardwalk and the fall caused the spider to be separated from its prey. Undeterred, it quickly set off to recapture the dragonfly.

dragon4_spider_blogThe spider grabbed the dragonfly in a headlock and began to drag it back toward the gap between the synthetic boards of the boardwalk. It seemed totally oblivious to my presence.dragon6_spider_blog

When it reached the gap, the spider paused for a few seconds, as though considering possibility of dragging the body through the gap.


The spider decided to give it a try and did its best to pull the body in, starting with the head.


Despite the spider’s best efforts, however, the dragonfly’s body was simply too big.


As I left the scene, the spider had again settled down out of sight below the surface of the boardwalk, happily enjoying its meal and presumably hoping that it would not be disturbed again.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.








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How does a jumping spider, a spider that does not build a web, manage to capture a dragonfly? I don’t know how this Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax) snagged an Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis), but I came upon the two of them after the capture had been completed and managed to snap a series of photographs of the action.

I am still working on the images and plan to do a longer posting, but wanted to give you a sneak preview.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have encountered some cool-looking spiders in the past, but I think that this Bold Jumping spider (Phidippus audax) just leaped to number one on my personal list.

I was checking out my neighbor’s garden (fellow blogger and photographer Cindy Dyer) this past weekend, when I saw a little movement among the flowers. The first thing that i noticed was the fuzzy body and I suspected that I had a jumping spider in front of me. It crawled all around a couple of different plants and most of the time it had its back to be. I tried to be patient as I waited for it to turn toward me, so that I could get a shot of its amazing eyes.

It is equally remarkable that the Bold (also known as Daring) Jumping spider has iridescent blue-green mouth parts that are technically known as chelicerae. At first, I thought the spider was eating something brightly colored that really made it stand out—you can’t really camouflage yourself when you have a color that distinctive.

This is the third species of jumping spider that I have now seen in this one little garden. I am not sure what attracts the spiders to it, but the garden has an equal attraction for me.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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