I know I’m among the rare few who really think some spiders are cute. I think all of them serve a vital ecological purpose, and try not to kill them just because I can see them (I draw the line at the bathroom and bedroom, they aren’t allowed there). Last night sitting in the backyard enjoying the setting sun, we had a fun encounter with the cute kind – a Jumping Spider, specifically a Paraphidippus aurantius.
I’ll freely admit that I anthropomorphize these little guys. There’s something about the way they carry their fuzzy pedipalps that makes them look like they are wearing a big comical mustache.
The Phidippus, the clan of the Jumping Spider, are loners, and don’t usually make a web, although they are fully equipped with spinnerets.
For some reason I don’t fully understand, this female P. aurantius was laying down silk most of the time we were observing her, as you can see in the photo above. I don’t think I’ve seen a Phidippus doing that before. Usually they are fearless leapers, without a safety net.
For some reason, the more I wanted a photo of her face, the more she would turn her back to me. Phidippus are sight hunters, with pretty good eyesight. We think she was seeing the camera lens as a threat, and I was very much ‘in her face’ with it, as I was using the macro lens extensions. I suspect this stance, up on her toes with her metallic abdomen raised, is a threatening pose.
Since most of the photos here were taken with a 21 mm lens extension on (not my highest magnifier, but the 31 mm was too close and bothered her), I’m including one where she was walking on my hand for scale. So wee! you can sort of see the motion blur – she was moving fast almost the whole time, which made focusing in manual mode a challenge! But I was delighted to capture a few decent shots to share.