The bold jumper.

No, the title in this short piece is not about someone jumping from great heights. It has more to do with a spider, called the bold jumper or in latin, Phiddipus audax. I like to take pictures and sometimes I love to do macro photography. This essentially means that you take pictures of insects as well as spiders and anything that is small.

These spiders are very curious and seem intelligent, with their two big eyes and smaller ones all around the head. Their legs are very furry as well. When I would approach with my lens they would often look up to me. They seemed to know that I was there looking at them. Other spiders simply ignore you even if you face them. They seem only to react to a stimulus like touching the web but these bold jumpers acknowledge your presence.

Indeed it is a bold jumper this spider. I was often surprised at the jumps it would make. It does not create a web but hunts for other small insects. When it jumps it always has a drag line behind it, a sort of safety line it seems.

Last week was a great week for such photography and more specially, to locate the bold jumper. On that particular day, it was nice and sunny with the temperatures in the 70 degrees or 21 to 25 Celsius. The winds were absent, a crucial element in macro photography.

I started at 11:00 and went straight to an area where I had noticed such spiders and indeed, I was able to find one. It measured only about one quarter of an inch. With my 150 macro lens I was able to see it quite nicely and took several good shots. It was in the sun and moving around in the shrub. I had often seen them in the sun. The shots were perfect.

I moved on and this time, in a different area of the garden I noticed something not moving on the tip of a plant. Sure enough, there was another one but of a different variety. The colors I could see on the main legs were of a green metallic nature. It was more shy than the other spider but nevertheless it did stay out in the open and so once again I got several good shots.

I finally ended my stay near the banks of a little stream where I had previously seen such spiders. The disadvantage of this area was that the spiders were on ground level. To stoop down to try and locate a spider that is smaller than a quarter of an inch or less is a challenge, and one needs very good eyes to spot them. In this case, the small spider moved around the area and this helped me tremendously. Just beside this spider was the web of the garden spider, easily recognized by the z-pattern in the web. This female spider was easy to spot as it was much larger than the bold jumper.

After nearly three and a half hours of looking for spiders I had enough of searching. The winds were now picking up and more tourists were flooding the area, the perfect time to exit, which is what I did, satisfied that my outing had been fruitful.


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