And June just said, “See ya,” and left

six-spotted fishing spider Dolomedes triton with egg sac over unidentified amphibian eggs
After a busy May, June was just kind of nondescript to me, without a lot to say for it, and I really only have a handful of photos from the month. Still, here we are at the month’s end and thus we greet our abstract.

Following heavy rains one particular night, I was checking out the nearby pond, which has cut some new drainage channels from overflow, one of which becomes a few semi-connected standing pools once the rain stops. Within one of these was a notable amount of critter activity, two varieties shown here. Several patches of unidentified frog or toad eggs were floating on the surface, but not far away I found a pair of the eastern narrowmouth toads (Gastrophryne carolinensis) in amplexus, otherwise known as ‘getting it on,’ so there’s a fairly good chance that we can credit the eggs to that species. The angle of the flash and softbox shows how the eggs protrude from the water slightly, just buoyant enough to extend a hair’s breadth above the surface.

The other player in here is a six-spotted fishing spider (Dolomedes triton,) and this is a little curious to me. This one’s quite small, maybe 30mm in leg spread, what I would have taken to be a juvenile because I’ve seen them a whole lot bigger – yet she has an egg sac attached to her spinnerets. Granted, this is the south, so perhaps this is simply what we should expect.

There were several of the fishing spiders in this small pool, but this was the only one expecting, plus she perched momentarily above the toad eggs, so I was intent on getting the shot. This meant having to shoot down past some weeds erupting from the pool’s edge, which is why those fuzzy green lines are in there; this is what something way out of focus in front of the lens looks like.

I visited a few days later, and only the fishing spiders were seen; the eggs and all traces of tadpoles had vanished, but we’d had another rain in the interim and perhaps they’d simply moved further along the ecosystem. I would have liked to have collected some tadpoles to see what developed, but our backyard pond here already hosts some and telling them apart would be difficult. Just have to put in more ponds, I guess…

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