Portrait of a Jumper.


Jumping spiders are great fun to photograph, expressive as they appear to be. In my limited experience, I get a chance to see them more often in more man-made environments: desks, walls, indoors, and on my pants even. They’re far harder to get a-hold of on a plant or in a bush.

A most opportune time to catch them in the “wild” is when they’re getting set to molt. The disadvantage is that molting often happens at night, with the spiders prepping come late evening, so you need to find ’em by then and keep shooting.

I came across a female Two-Striped Jumper, Telamonia dimidiata earlier in the year. Twitchy little spider that she was, the photograph below is the best I could do before nightfall.

Jumping spider pre-molt

As night fell, the jumping spider found itself a leaf that it liked, and started building a protective web under it.

Telamonia dimidiata

The web was quite tough, and it seemed as if the spider felt really comfortable inside it. While the jumper continued to spin round and round and pace about its little bunker, it also allowed me to go in closer and shoot a lot better.

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I love the texture of Telamonia‘s carapace, and the red stripess running down its length.

Continue reading “Portrait of a Jumper.”

Portrait of a Jumper.

Curiosity did not kill the jumper.


Good morrow, gentle folk.

I thought I’d elaborate on what I was talking about back on Wednesday eve. Jumping spiders are truly tough to beat in any posing contest amongst critters. I think that comes in part because of the size of their primary two eyes, which are large enough to throw up reflections of their surroundings. Think anime eyes and their exaggerated expressions.

The other part is their apparent curiosity. Again, this is connected to their large eyes. Jumping spiders, like most other spiders, have a LOT of eyes – usually six or eight. Now, all but two of these are fairly rudimentary in function: some can only make out light and shadow, others some minimal detail.

The two primary eyes (called Anterior Medial eyes, for those interested) are quite something else, though. One of the best set of eyes in the invertebrate world, the eyes are telescopic in nature, recording an extraordinary amount of detail. The eyes also have four different kinds of receptor cells, giving them the ability to perceive four distinct colours (humans, in comparison, have only three different types,) giving them a visible range stretching from near UV to the near IR spectrum.

The apparent curiosity of theirs comes in because of this: their tiny little brains take a second or more to process all the incredibly rich visual information that comes their way, so they often stay still in that time.

The usual experience of a photographer with a jumping spider (that’s not too¬†jumpy) usually goes like this: You approach the spider; the spider “takes cognizance” of you and quickly turns to look at you; the doe eyes stay focused on you for a few seconds; if you move or go closer, the spider usually jumps backwards while continuing to face you; you click some more pictures.

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That may not sound like much in print, but that’s pretty awesome for a photographer. ^_^

Continue reading “Curiosity did not kill the jumper.”

Curiosity did not kill the jumper.

Curiouser and curiouser.


As a photographer, and a spider photographer at that, there’s little that gives you more pleasure than having a critter react positively to your presence.

Jumping spiders are great for that, with their big doe eyes (with a few extra thrown in for good measure) always giving you and your camera far more attention than you deserve. I might’ve compared them to cats earlier, but they are almost canine in this regard.

I’ll elaborate on them later, perhaps, but for now, I hope you like this critter as much as I do.

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Continue reading “Curiouser and curiouser.”

Curiouser and curiouser.