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Beautiful Eight-Legged Terrors
January 29, 2014 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Macro Photos Of Cute And Cuddly Jumping Spiders by Thomas Shahan. Plus tips on how to shoot macro pictures of insects!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (37 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
OK, so I clicked on this drawn in by the "cute and cuddly," which I assumed to be a lie but I had to check to make sure, just in case.

And...wow! Not cute and cuddly so much, but it would appear that spiders break down into two main types: fancy beautyspiders with mad mascara skills and grandpas.

Much less terrifying than predicted! A+!
posted by phunniemee at 8:50 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


These are lovely! And I say that as a mild arachnophobiac. However, jumping spiders always were an exception for me. They are completely unlike other spiders. Different proportions, different movements, active hunting style, and those EYES...
"They make good cheap pets!" adds Jakob.
posted by hat_eater at 8:52 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Author's flickr. I mean, the photos' autor's.
posted by hat_eater at 8:54 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I'm fairly terrified of spiders, but found these photos to be gorgeous and the tips useful.

Just trying to think of all the spiders in the walls, huddling for warmth.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:54 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


This is the one I study.
posted by dhruva at 8:58 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Just trying not to think of poor freezing spiders in the walls, not to give them any ideas where to huddle for warmth. Spiders are not stupid and they would never... I mean, humans are known to roll in the sleep practically all the time. You listen, spiders?
posted by hat_eater at 8:59 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


This is the one I study.

Curious, what have you learned about it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:03 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


well, they get really confused when they face a fly (a true fruit fly) that does a display to it and hesitates to attack the fly, with the result that the fly escapes. Here's a paper concerning this work (it's a different species in that paper, but I switched to the one linked above). I'll link to a video, but I'm not sure if it's restricted by the journal. Let me know if it works.
posted by dhruva at 9:15 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Somewhat related, spider eye arrangements (scroll down for diagrams). Some have eight!
posted by Captain Chesapeake at 9:17 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Very cool dhruva! The video works!

So because the spiders react the same to both banded and non-banded flies that do the display, does that disprove the hypothesis that the display mimics spider leg movement? Why do the flies do it- do they do it for spiders only and not other flies?
posted by stinkfoot at 9:30 AM on January 29


OMG new wallpaper how to choose?
posted by maudlin at 9:33 AM on January 29


Jumping spiders are so awesome. Look at the size of those chelicerae! It makes them look adorably bucktoothed; for something so tiny and distantly-related to humans, their faces are really very expressive. (All just anthropomorphism, but still.) And their giant four-eyed faces are so cute, combined with their curiosity and fearlessness. I also love their aggressive little displays, and the way that they move so fast you can't even see the transitions; it's like something from a cartoon. Definitely my favorite arachnids, hands down.
posted by Scientist at 9:36 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


If only spiders were the size of dogs with the same personality. Maybe then we would love them.

But probably not.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:41 AM on January 29


Plus tips on how to shoot macro pictures of insects!

1. Nuke the entire site.
2. Preferably from orbit.
3. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:50 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Jumping spiders are the best.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 10:05 AM on January 29


Curious. How do the eyes….uh…work? I mean, we have binocular vision…but it looks like they have a large primary set (to my way of thinking) and a secondary pair. Do we know which pair does what and why?
posted by Thistledown at 10:19 AM on January 29


Yes jumping spiders are the only spiders I can tolerate without screaming in terror. They're so cute and scampy!

My wife still hates them, though. :(
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:19 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Thanks to the Misunderstood Spider meme, I can't help but feel sorry for all these guys. You can all be my friends, jumping spiders!
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:27 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


If only spiders were the size of dogs with the same personality. Maybe then we would love them.

What do you mean, maybe?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:37 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]




disprove the hypothesis that the display mimics spider leg movement?
Basically I am trying to disprove this hypothesis. The flies display to other flies, male or female. In the next set of experiments I got them to display to dead spiders, grasshoppers, video playback. The display seems to be triggered by movement, not the identity of the opponent. The funny thing is that the display works only against jumping spiders, and not other spiders/mantids etc. So there is some sensory bias in the jumping spiders' vision that deters it from attacking a displaying fly.
posted by dhruva at 10:55 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


There's something about the Humble Amateur that I always find endearing. "Oh really, it's nothing, anyone could do this..." (And then I compare to someone pro/semi-pro like The Sartorialist who has his head so far up his own ass I wonder if he's ever seen daylight.)

Plus, another Pentax user! I'm gonna go buy some extension tubes right now.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:55 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


So cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute!
posted by kyrademon at 11:04 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I love spiders. Most of the people I know hate them, but spiders are very bright, except when trying to escape a sink.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:07 AM on January 29


What do you mean, maybe?

What other choice would be have? Open rebellion against their skitterylegged rule?
posted by elizardbits at 11:31 AM on January 29


double?

Thomas had a great Phidippus tee-shirt for sale a few months ago. I wear mine too often.
posted by scruss at 12:06 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I made friends with a jumping spider as a child. I was stuck in the backseat on a long trip. I was gazing out the window when this tiny spider appeared from somewhere within the door. My first reaction was, "BUG!" But then I noticed it seemed to be looking at me, studying me. I tilted my head for a better view and it tilted its head (?) in the same direction. If I moved closer it would scurry backwards a bit but when I retreated it would follow after me. We amused each other for the rest of the trip...
posted by jim in austin at 12:35 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Cool shades, babe.

The mouth, on the other hand, NO NOT ON MY HAND!
posted by hat_eater at 4:08 PM on January 29


Jumping spider vs, bee.
posted by annsunny at 4:18 PM on January 29


Beautiful spiders; excellent photos. I enjoy looking at them on the internet. They're fine in my garden. In my bedroom or my bathroom--prepare to die.


...adorably bucktoothed...
...so cute...
...love their aggressive little displays...
...it's like ...something from a cartoon.

So cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute!


No. Not hardly. Imagine the buggers at ten foot tall. You are toast.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:25 PM on January 29


You're talking to a population of people who love cats. If the old "imagine [adorable thing LOTS bigger]" gambit hasn't worked so far, it's not gonna work now.

Still can't decide which one to use for wallpaper. May need to create a panel.
posted by maudlin at 5:44 PM on January 29


BlueHorse, I am assuming that when you see someone saying that a baby is adorable you race to inform them that if that baby were 1000 times as large and they were sliding down its wet, red-rimmed, toothless maw, then where is that "adorablesness" now, boy howdy!
posted by kyrademon at 5:46 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Absolutely stunning photos - I wish I could take photos of my beasties like that!

Jumping spiders are (although I don't work on them... yet) one of my favourite species. They just have this innate charm. Every time I meet one I am compelled to wave my finger over its field of vision, just for the pleasure of watching it follow my finger's movement.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 6:18 PM on January 29


You're talking to a population of people who love cats.
Which is one of the reasons why they are loved. Cats are so useful for keeping down the spider population (at least around my house.)

BlueHorse, I am assuming that when you see someone saying that a baby is adorable you race to inform them that if that baby were 1000 times as large and they were sliding down its wet, red-rimmed, toothless maw, then where is that "adorablesness" now, boy howdy!

Oh, babies are their own special breed of horror. They don't need to start off 1000 times larger, because eventually they'll get big enough to be...teenagers. *shudders*

You may both have my allotment of live indoor spiders as well as the black widows that live in the window wells and garage. I will keep the nifty outdoor trap door spiders and the big cat spiders that live on the tomatoes in the garden, as well as the big wolf spiders in the tack shed.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:46 PM on January 29


dhruva: wouldn't an alternative hypothesis be that the display has evolved to deter predation by jumping spiders, but the flies don't discriminate perhaps because the delay in identifying the potential threat would give the spider time to pounce? Or perhaps the cost of making a lot of needless displays is just so much lower than the cost of getting eaten by a jumping spider that there hasn't been enough selection pressure to refine the behavior? Or is that what you're thinking already? That wouldn't necessarily say anything about why the tactic works on jumping spiders, but if it does mimic the spiders' own displays perhaps that is enough to cause momentary confusion, buying the flies time to make good their escape. I imagine you've thought about this already, but I'm curious.

Also, I'm glad that being eaten by a jumping spider is not on my personal list of daily concerns. They'd be bloody terrifying if they were big enough for that to be a danger.
posted by Scientist at 12:31 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Wow, amazing photos. So gorgeous. (I mean, they're no peacock spiders, but handsome in their own way.)

And as I've lamented before, I have nobody to share them with. My husband's reaction to photos like this is "NOPE NOPE NOPE NOT LOOKING NOT CLICKING NOPE". And my cube-mate at work has been known to spend the night on the sofa because there was a spider on the bedroom ceiling. OTOH, she appreciates that I'm not arachnophobic, because when she got into an argument at Halloween with a fellow coworker about whether there are purple spiders, she could enlist me as her research ammunition ("but do NOT copy me when you send her the photo!").
posted by Lexica at 10:01 PM on February 1


Or perhaps the cost of making a lot of needless displays is just so much lower

I'm leaning towards this, one of the experiments was to see if physiological body condition of the flies affects the display and it didn't.
posted by dhruva at 8:06 PM on February 6


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