Friends in low places


So, here’s the story: I was out just a few minutes ago chasing a crab spider, because the lack of ambient light meant I could observe its actions without it being spooked by my looming presence. A macro flashlight mounted on the camera allowed me to see what was going on, focus decently, and so on – the spider would only see the rather erratic sun bouncing around.

The light, however, attracted a couple of moths, which circled it in a blundering and irritating manner. When one actually ran into the flower as I was locking focus, scaring the crab spider into hiding, I backed off and observed it for a minute to see if it would settle somewhere. The light was now aimed mostly downwards, and since I was sitting cross-legged on the ground, this meant I was illuminating the grass from 20cm away.

At one point the moth crashed into the grass momentarily and a wolf spider appeared, making a decent attempt to snag the moth and moving much faster and more accurately than I would have suspected. I kept watching. It only took another five seconds.

The next time the moth bumbled into the grass, it never rose again; the spider moved with lightning speed and nailed it where it had touched down. Keep in mind that the moth was moving as erratically as they ever do, and was in and out of the light’s beam constantly. I’m so used to arthropods that have limited distance vision that I forget about the ones that don’t, so the utter efficiency of this capture was stunning to behold.

I know, not only did I do even more pink pics, I did more closeups of spiders too – but then again, everyone bothered by those stopped coming back long ago. So when I say this all took place not 10cm from my leg, and I think the wolf spider had actually run across my calf two minutes earlier, I’m not creeping anyone out. Right?

One of these days, I’m going to have to branch into video…

Comments are closed.