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Old May 27, 2010, 3:38 AM   #1
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Default Jumping Spiders mating . . . kinda funny. . .

Hi All,

I'll begin by apologizing to the JS community. . . joking about mating is a uniquely human activity. . .

These were taken with the K-7, D FA 100/2.8 Macro + F 1.7x AFA, handheld, using AF C to focus. Metz 15 MS1 Macro Slave flash in wireless remote mode triggered by the popup flash as "controller". This setup is considerably lighter and easier to shoot handheld than the K20, Sigma 180, AFA setup, but I wanted to compare them under similar circumstances. As mentioned before, the K-7 doesn't meter well with the Sigma/AFA/Metz combo, but it works fine with the Pentax lens and the AFA.

I apparently missed any pre-mating rituals, just noticed a larger than usual spot on the wall. . .I'm also assuming this was mating activity -- it's the only explanation that i could come up with. . .

These are the small brown furry guys -- about 1/8" (3mm) long. The green thing is the tail end of an aphid that the assumed female had just captured -- which gives you an indication of the scale.

I was chuckling the whole time I was shooting these as I imagined a conversation between the two. . .

He -- "Aw come on sweety, this'll only take a minute, and a guy's got his needs."

She -- ". . . but I just caught this aphid, and I haven't eaten all day. . ."

Notice how the male has anchored himself with a silk thread. I also thought it amusing how he kicks out his rear legs straight out.

He -- ". . . Just let me tip you over a little bit more. . ."

She -- " . . . You're really a jerk -- you know how much I've been craving an aphid lately. . . and now there's some guy with a camera. . ."

This only took about a minute. As I was moving over to the other side to try to get a few shots from a different angle, they separated and took off in different directions -- the female took the aphid with her. I was a little surprised at two things -- I was under the impression that male spiders were usually considerably smaller than the females, and I was very relieved that the mating didn't result in the demise and consumption of the male. . . I guess at least these JSs are a bit more civilized in this regard. . . I was also impressed by the tolerance of the female --

Here are a couple of other shots. I've seen what look to be 4 distinct color/marking patterns and/or sizes -- all within about 30 feet of two walls(10m) --

I like the small brown furry ones the best -- they almost seem to show personalities, and are the most curious.

This chocolate brown/cream one is just a little larger, maybe 3/16" at most

I think this dark brown one is a female to the black and white one that follows. These are at least twice a long as the others between 1/4" and 3/8" (6-7mm), but still are pretty small. I had assumed when I first saw them that these were the adults and the small brown ones were just young, but now I think they're just different species. They don't have nearly the amount of fur as the small ones. These were with the K20/Sigma/AFA/Metz

The K-7/D FA 100/AFA/Metz combo is much lighter and more compact, but the K20/Sigma 180/AFA/Metz combo is more convenient to shoot, mainly because of the extremely short throw of the focus ring at the macro end (less than 1/4 turn compared to almost 1/2 turn for the D FA 100 between 1:1 and 1:2). Also, the Sigma is an Internal Focusing lens, while the Pentax is not (this is not the WR model which might be IF, but I'm not sure). Because the Pentax extends quite a bit while focusing at macro distances, it seems to disturb the critters more, especially with the huge (for the critters) Metz flash unit on the end of it.

The Sigma, IMO is a bit sharper, and I've only seen a tiny trace of CA/PF, and only on point light reflections that are bright enough to blow out. The Pentax shows a little CA/PF, but it's rarely bothersome.

Despite the size and weight, I'm inclined to shoot the big Sigma more. At 306mm, it's long enough to get some bird shots if they present themselves, but you have to stand off quite a bit to be able to include some of the even medium sized flowers, and it's just harder to hold on a tightly framed subject. I definitely like the working distance for bugs though, and completely understand why long macros are the weapon of choice for some of the better critter shooters I've seen -- good thing I'm used to handholding even bigger lenses. . .

Sorry for getting so stuck on one subject, but I've gotten really fascinated by these guys -- and I don't know if their easy availability will last, so I'm taking advantage while I can. . .

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Old May 27, 2010, 6:09 AM   #2
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Really fine series and wonderfully photographed. Just wondering - do jumping spider males give their potential mates a "gift" of an insect? I know that some other predatory creatures use food as a pre-mating offering... Perhaps he gave her the aphid?
In any case, thanks for an amazingly clear and sharp series!
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Old May 27, 2010, 8:00 AM   #3
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Great series Scott, you seem to find the much faster than I do.

Don't know about the 'gift' Mole talked about, can't find anything about it on the web although I know that some spiders do give a gift not to be consumed after or during the 'fun'.
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Old May 27, 2010, 12:09 PM   #4
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Great series Scott - love that 3rd shot, the furry ones just look 'nicer' don't they !
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Old May 27, 2010, 1:08 PM   #5
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I caught a jumping spider this morning and managed to get... 1 photo... and nowhere near as good as these.
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Old May 27, 2010, 4:10 PM   #6
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Great series Scott! Good work.

Hey Mole, if that was the case... receiving tangible compensation for sexual favors... that would make them whores and we'd have to arrest them!
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Old May 27, 2010, 11:11 PM   #7
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Oh GW you shouldn't have said that so loud .... 'ere comes the law !
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Old May 28, 2010, 6:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Goldwinger View Post

Hey Mole, if that was the case... receiving tangible compensation for sexual favors... that would make them whores and we'd have to arrest them!
Don't know about spiders, but birds do this to reinforce the pair bond - not just when they are courting (but afterwards, too). It is in the nature of a love token, and not a bribe. Didn't you ever bring flowers home to your wife ???

Scott, these are great - you really give these little guys personality.
If life brings you lemons, you can make lemonade.
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Old May 28, 2010, 7:29 PM   #9
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Really nice captures and storyline sno .... They seem to accept your presence
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Old May 28, 2010, 10:11 PM   #10
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Great pics Scott. And I love the narration.
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