Photo of the Week – May 3, 2012

This little jumping spider was hanging out on an almost-blooming shell leaf penstemon plant this afternoon.  I happened to spot it as I was walking by, and stopped to see if it would sit for a portrait.

Jumping spider on shell leaf penstemon. Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

The above photo was actually taken after several minutes of watching the little spider and trying to get the breeze, light, and spider to coordinate with each other so I could snap the shutter.  The below photo shows the spider as I initially spotted it – with its lunch.

Jumping spider with prey.

Very shortly after I took the above photo, the spider disappeared beneath the flower.  When it reappeared later, it didn’t have its prey anymore.  I imagine it dropped it so it could make a fast getaway if it needed to.  I hope he/she was done eating…

Trying to figure out if that annoying photographer is still there…

I know not everyone thinks spiders are cute, but you’ve got to admit, this one has a certain charm…

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
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7 Responses to Photo of the Week – May 3, 2012

  1. Len Gilmore says:

    Chris,
    Always enjoy your photos, particularly those that show the little things I pass by. I do like spiders. The jumping spider eyes reminded me of all the shining eyes of the spiders at night that sparkled by our lights as we walked across the prairie during the night-netting of Greater Prairie Chickens. At first I did not realize it was spider eyes shining. Something most folks don’t get to see.

  2. Brodie says:

    I’ve loved jumping spiders most of my life. The first couple of summers in my house in Denver, I had a big one (Phidippus audax) who would fall down beside me in friendly fashion when I came home from work and opened the screen door. If I find a jumping spider in the house, I coax it to jump to my hand, and carry it outside. Thanks for this post, especially the third photo. Spider not annoyed, just interested.

  3. Gretchen says:

    I like spiders. I have to. I live on a lakeshore in northwest Iowa. I, too, carry them outside when I find them in my house. I love to watch them spin their webs.

  4. James C. Trager says:

    Cute!

  5. anastaciast says:

    I love jumping spiders! Who wouldn’t? When I was a kid in Chicago, we had a pet jumping spider named Oscar. :) Love these photos! Thanks for sharing them.

  6. Lauren says:

    Love the photo! The eyes are so strange but magnificent at the same time. I think it’s very cute, but a lot of people I know would beg to differ…

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