Starting the spider season off

unknown tiny white winter flowering weed
It’s been longer than I’d planned between posts, for several reasons, mostly being busy. There are also two larger posts that I’ve been working on, but they have required more time than I had available, so not just yet. But with the nice weather today, I took a moment to chase a few macro photos.

water drops on petals acting as lensesDon’t ask me what this flower is – it’s a whopping 5mm across from tip to tip, and I shamelessly added the ‘dew’ with a misting bottle since we’re still a ways off from those conditions. This was actually growing in the pot with my salvia plant, and I’ve photographed them before but still haven’t determined the species.

Because the water drops acted as lenses and were showing the details of the petals, I had to include a close detail crop. As smooth as they seem to us, every flower petal that I’ve seen actually looks like this in high magnification, quite scaly. One of these days I’ll get a decent microscope and start doing some photo-micrography (which includes learning how to pronounce it smoothly without stumbling.)

In the same pot, I found two crab spiders, which might have measured 9-10mm across at widest leg spread, which means 3-4mm in body length.

crab spider Thomisidae
on pot edge
Macro work can give an entirely different impression. While seen this close they’re spiky and striated and not terribly cute, from an average viewing distance they’re barely visible, and quite delicate-looking, almost graceful in shape, and appear able to be smooshed with a hard exhalation. While writing this, I went back out for a shot to convey this perspective a bit better.
crab spider Thomisidae
on salvia with fingertip for scale
Hardly ominous-looking now, is it? And given the low viewing angle and the curl of the leaf, I suspect this one had no idea my finger was looming up from underneath.

Both for the appearance and to provide some hard-to-find water, I went ahead and misted my two arachnid subjects as well. It was impossible to tell in the viewfinder and even tricky to determine when looking at the magnified images, but it seems that this was appreciated.
crab spider Thomisidae possibly enjoying the mist
If you compare this one to the portrait further up, you can see that the ‘face’ (cephalothorax) seems to be angled downwards more, likely because the spider was sipping dew from the leaf like any good ol’ country boy (‘ceptin’ I think the phrase might have a different meaning to them folk.) But since this is how most arthropods obtain their water anyway, I’m probably not being presumptuous. This time.

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