Sunday, September 03, 2006

Spider shots

Our spider population took a dramatic jump overnight. Alex took this picture of a female grass spider outside the door this morning.

The spider was perched on a shirt one of the kids left draped over the back of the garden bench and is a big girl. With her legs stretched out, she covers my palm and then some. I've seen her several times in the garden this week, toting the enormous egg sac that finally hatched and covered her abdomen in a wiggly mass of offspring.

Grass spiders don't build webs. They hunt on the ground. But garden spiders do. Alex took this picture of one yesterday.

I'd suggest zooming on both pictures for more detail, unless you're an arachnaphobe, in which case you can just piss on yourself instead.

Alex took these shots with her new Kodak digital camera. I'm impressed with both pictures, especially the one of the grass spider. She shot it on high resolution, so I had to reduce the image to get it on the blog, but even with the loss in resolution, it's still nice. The girl has a good eye and has inherited her mother's odd fascination with macro-photography.

And spiders are good subjects.

We have a bumper crop of spiders this year, which is find from a pest control standpoint, but annoying if you do a lot of gardening. I can't count the number of times I've been pulling weeds or planting something and felt the tickle of a spider crawling on my head or the nape of my neck. The spiders themselves aren't a problem; I'm not afraid of them. But it's no fun getting web out of your hair.

Update: So Alex managed another spider shot this afternoon, this one even more interesting than the other two. It's a linx spider. Being camoflauged against the green leaf, she was able to snag this honeybee.

Again, if you enlarge it you can see more detail.

Nice.

Update II: Ksquest informed me I was incorrect when I originally identified the spider at left as a "link" spider. It is a linx spider. She also provides a link in my comment section to some awesome photos. Ksquest also has a nice blog. Check it out!

13 comments:

thimscool said...

Nice shots, Alex!

Morgan, are you saying that momma spider would let you pick her up with all thos babies in tow?

Morgan said...

Well, "let" me is a stretch. I put my hand out and she crawled on it, went up my arm and off my shoulder onto one of the Lady Banks Rose branches.
And she was *fast*. I checked my shirt sleeve afterwards for spiderlings, but those suckers must have been holding on tight, for I found nary a one.
I'll pass on your compliments to Alex. She's quite the shutterbug. In addition to the spider pics, yesterday she shot the picture of me I'm now using as my avatar!

thimscool said...

It's a beauty.

mitzibel said...

Oh, crap. Those are fantastic photographs, as evidenced by the fact that now I have to go shower and towel myself raw to get my skin to stop crawling.

Elaine said...

Beautiful shots,
But I am petrified - we don't have anything close to that here (NY) or at least I like to think we don't! (ignorance is sometimes bliss!)
But even with my fear, I do appreciate the fine job your daughter did - she is truly gifted!
All my best!

Elaine said...

Beautiful shots,
But I am petrified - we don't have anything close to that here (NY) or at least I like to think we don't! (ignorance is sometimes bliss!)
But even with my fear, I do appreciate the fine job your daughter did - she is truly gifted!
All my best!

Anonymous said...

sorry for the double post! feel free to delete one and this one too!

That Cleaning Lady said...

I'm so creeped out and itchy! Alex did an excellent job shooting those shots, oh my gosh!!
I'm very moved! I feel sorry for the mama spider with a thousand babies on her back, and I feel sorry for that honey bee too!
We have fiddle back spiders here in Washington State and black widow's too. (Fiddle backs are aka brown recluse's). I'm not a big gardener, but we hike (or will again once I'm healed up) and we've seen a lot of amazing spiders in our travels.

Morgan said...

Elaine and TCL,

I'll pass on your compliments to Alex. She's quite proud of herself.
She's a quick study and has gone from simple shots to asking about exposure, shooting speeds, etc.
Her camera is pretty self-regulated although you change some settings depending on the mode you're using.

When I get my new one (hopefully later this week) I can show her some of the ways different lenses and speeds affect shots. We've already worked with different shooting angles and I encourage her to get candid, unposed shots of the pets and people as much as possible. Unfortunately, this has led to her stalking us like the paparazzi.And the cat now looks remarkabely bored in all the pictures. Or walks into things from being blinded by the flash.

TCL, we have brown recluses here, but they are rare. I'm glad because they have an especially nasty bite. Elaine, if you don't like spiders you're in a good place. You wouldn't want to come here - either to our yard or to Larry's outside building, where he keeps a Giant Goliath Bird-Eating spider, a tarantula that dines on mice. When it feels threatens it raises its front legs and sticks its fangs out. Pretty impressive.

thimscool said...

Morgan,

What makes you think Alex doesn't already read your blog?

k said...

In the interest of the very best home schooling, I'm going to do something I rarely do - correct someone else's misspelled word.

This one isn't a *link,* but a *linx* spider. Aka *Green Linx Spider*; scientific name *Peucetia viridans.*

Here's a great link to a photo of a male and female linx spider together:

http://www.thelensflare.com/gallery/p_spider_9711.php

Morgan said...

Thanks, ksquest!
I should have Googled the spider before I posted about it.
I've heard of them called link spiders so wrote it phonetically.
Thanks for catching that. I wish I had more time to proofread my posts, but given that I have more to do that blog I'm prone to put stuff up without proofreading.

k said...

I've noticed other bloggers are far braver about proofreading than I am! My typos embarrass me too easily for my own good. Other people's don't trouble me, unless I can't understand what they're saying.

Or, when the name of a Very Special Critter is involved. I LOVE linxes. Good for Alex!