Hot spider love

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Mike B in OKlahoma
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Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:32 pm
Location: Oklahoma City

Hot spider love

Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »


Saturday was a cool (by Oklahoma in September standards), cloudy, windy day, not the best for macro photography, but I decided to take my Rebel XTi and 180mm macro lens along anyway when I and a friend went on a walk in the woods. We spotted two quite different spiders that seemed to be "jousting" in a web, and one lunged in and seemed to latch onto the others. After a moment of astonishment I realized what was happening. We had a boy and a girl and the spiders were mating!

I did my best to get some good shots, but it was a headache...The spiders were surrounded by a tangled three dimensional web, the wind and web vibration from their own movements was making them move to and fro as well as forwards and backwards from my perspective, PLUS everything seemed connected to everything else on the forest floor, and if I shifted position, the web vibrated vigorously. Enough to make the lovers back off and stop for awhile twice. They seemed to have stopped for good, and were resting when we had to leave (otherwise I'd have liked to stay and see if the male was eaten as sometimes reportedly happens. I was worried about placement of my DOF accurately with all this movement, but it doesn't seem to be much of a problem with most of my shots.

Spiders do not mate in the way us mammals think of as customary, the male discharges sperm ahead of time into his pedipalps, a sort of small arm next to his mouth, and uses these to implant it into the female. Here's a brief description:

This happened yesterday, and I just got home this evening....Because of the problems I mentioned above, plus diffraction (I suspect diffraction has a LOT to do with it), none of my photos are as pinpoint sharp as I'd like to see when I pixel peep. Looks excellent at web size, though! I haven't had an opportunity to try to ID the spiders yet.

Rebel XTi and 180mm macro lens
1/200th second @ f/25
ISO 200
flash as main light
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."

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Post by puzzledpaul »

A rare chance / opportunity indeed, Mike - you did very well to get anything :)

Am sure we can all empathise with someone trying to take (macro) pics in the conditions described, where there's no decent flat(tish) focal planes - and if there are, they're moving / obscured / got naff bgs etc.


Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

I would think that if a male spider chose to be celibate, he has good reason (Ewwwww!). Yep under the describe conditions I would say you did quite well there Mike. I would have given up and just walked away, looking for something on more stable a platform. However, there are those times when you just can't resist though. :D

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Post by rjlittlefield »

This is a really excellent job, Mike! I've never seen this in person, and precious few photos. And then to catch a decent shot under those conditions -- wow!


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Post by beetleman »

Excellent work Mike. Pedipalps always remind me of boxing gloves :wink:
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Wim van Egmond
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Post by Wim van Egmond »

Brilliant picture and shot with the right angle to show what actuallly happens! It seems like a Linyphia species. In any case belonging to the Linyphiidae.


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