First mud

The other day, with the warm weather assuring us that it was here to stay (dishonestly, I must add,) I donned shorts for the first time to meet with a student and go out seeking the first real signs of spring to a nature photographer, which is generally wildlife in search of booty. While […]

All up in yo’ face

After yesterday’s monsoon (which was hard enough for us to be watching for the signs of tornados,) there remains a fair amount of standing water in various places, and the yard is nothing more than a sponge right now. In a shallow pan this morning, I spotted a couple of spiders hanging out, one […]

Sleep tight

If you’re arachnophobic, this post isn’t for you, unless you’re determined to get over it or just realize that it’s only pics on your monitor. I’ve done my part in warning you and am now absolved of all legal liability and suchlike.

A few weeks back while hunting bugs at night for The Girlfriend’s […]

Still trying

Here, we’re still wondering if spring has finally decided to settle in, or if its meds are going to wear off and send it scurrying for safety someplace, wherever spring goes when it’s not around – my guess is a shop that does specialty jams. The past few days have been spent dealing with […]

A year goes by fast

Last year about this time, I published a post about my little friends the fishing spiders, whom I call ‘friends’ not because we hang out and hammer down Pepsi together, but because my first photo sale featured one as a subject. Lately, a few have been making themselves obvious, clearly begging to be featured again, so who am I to crush their little spirits? And I say with all honesty, it’s not that I’m avoiding bunny rabbits and ducklings, it’s that I simply have not seen anything cute at all. But still, I know some people don’t want to be greeted with spiders all the time, so I’m including the detailed pics below the break.

A little over a week ago, while staging the photo for the previous post, I espied something that can occasionally be found at the edges of ponds and streams that have plenty of reeds, seen to the left: the molted exoskeleton of a fishing spider. Spiders, and most insects, shed their ‘skins’ as they grow larger, splitting the chitin and squeezing out backwards, and then usually hiding for a while since their new exoskeleton is soft, leaving them much more vulnerable to predators. The translucent molt is left attached to whatever surface was handy, usually mistaken for a dead insect, but it’s instead a clue to be watching for the former owner nearby. When I sat down to take this image, I soon spotted the culprit hiding in the tall grasses. With a stick, I carefully flushed him out, whereupon he panicked and scampered for cover practically underneath me, but then froze and held perfectly still for some really tight closeups.
Continue reading “A year goes by fast”

Back to the trough

It’s funny. I grew up with a fear of spiders, and while it is maintained that this is a learned response, I have a very hard time pinning this down – I can think of no specific education I received that set spiders apart, aside from the idea that some were venomous. I knew […]