During a brief stop at our family’s prairie this morning, I noticed a small spider on its web, and set up my tripod to see if I could photograph it. Just after I got a couple nice photos, a grasshopper nymph blundered into its web, and the spider leapt into action. I tried to get pictures of it as it was quickly wrapping the little grasshopper, but I only managed one – it was moving quickly, and there was some vegetation in the way.
However, once it had its prey stabilized, the spider slowed down and I was able to watch and photograph it for the next 10 minutes or so as it waited for the nymph to become sufficiently paralyzed. When I finally had to leave, the spider hadn’t yet started to feed. Instead, it was perched above the nymph with two legs resting on the nymph like it was feeling for a pulse. Every time the nymph twitched, the spider quickly pulled its legs back as if it had touched a hot stove. Very carefully, I pulled my tripod away and left the spider to its meal.