Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Almost good enough camouflage

I found this jumping spider on the old church fence.

The fence is old, unfinished wood, grey at a distance, black and light grey from close up. So is the spider, but as he stands, his stripes go the wrong way.

Zebra jumping spider, Salticus scenicus, male (going by the long pedipalps). About 1/4 inch fangs to spinnerets.

This is a rather light-coloured zebra; most have much more black and brown. But he is ideally suited to his chosen home on the fence. On a grey day, as are most this time of year, he would be practically invisible. As it is, I saw him fine, but the camera couldn't distinguish him from the plank, and refused to focus, forcing me to teeter precariously over the shrubbery to focus manually. I didn't quite manage it, specially with a curious spider matching his movements to the camera's.

Of all the spiders, I think the jumpers are about my favourites; big-eyed cuties with loads of personality, curious and adventuresome. But their curiosity makes them difficult to photograph. They swivel constantly to stare into that great round eye, so much like their own, but so much bigger. They don't turn and run, but jump towards the camera, making me flinch no matter how I tell myself they're harmless. It's the sudden movement that gets me every time. I've had one jump right onto the camera lens; I wonder if he thought he could eat it? They do catch prey well over their own size.


  1. It has been too long since I have visited - so many beautiful photos!! I love the reflections in the water, and the redwing blackbirds!!! The magnolias are beautiful!
    I love seeing all the tiny creatures you find and identify!! I prefer plants, but I love to get in close and personal, and I try to identify them, too, so I understand your passion!

  2. ad libitum2:47 pm

    They are quite beautiful. I wonder, do they attack their own mirror image as reflected in the front element of the lens?


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