Sunday, March 2, 2008

Unexpected Encounter

While stalking (Paparazzi style) a Tawny Emperor Butterfly (Asterocampa clyton) in the Rio Grande Valley, my subject turned into a lunch break for a small Bronze Jumping Spider. What was remarkable about the event was the way in which the small spider captured the butterfly.

I know,
For the butterfly lovers, hiss...... Down with spiders,
For the spider lovers, Nice catch by a Bronze Jumper
For the detached, impartial naturalist, ......... a good photo op.

Bronze Jumping Spider and Tawny Emperor

Anyway, back to the story.
As I was following the Tawny Emperor, which was flitting from tree to tree, suddenly the Jumper lived up to it's name. It leaped about 12 to 18 inches off of the trunk of its tree and with uncanny accuracy intersected the butterfly’s line of flight. It had left a strand of silk attached to the tree. When it caught the butterfly, it evidently stopped reeling out its line of silk and could then swing back to the tree. This occurred in the blink of an eye. If I had not been concentrating on the butterfly, I would never have seen it happen. There was no ensuing struggle. Either shock, poison, or a combination of both was enough to end the encounter. Since I was an uninvited guest for the meal, I moved on.

By the way, jumping spiders have a saying taken from "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" - "We don't need no stinking web".

I believe the spider is Eris militaris or possibly Eris flava. Let me know if you can tell conclusively.

The moral or conclusion to the story is: Be alert when observing Nature, and thank goodness jumping spiders are as small as they are.




John Roberts said...

You have some very nice macro photos here. What kind of macro lens do you have for that Brownie? (Just kidding!)Thanks for your visit to my blog and your comment.

Sully said...

amazing shot and story! I don't know anything about photography but a story and picture like that makes me think I am missing out!

any advice on how to get started would be great

Texas Travelers said...

John.... Thanks for the nice words. Again, I like your blog.

Sully... I assume you mean 'how to get started in 'photography'. An inexpensive 'point & shoot'. Ask friends for brands. Close up feature is nice. Photograph everything. Buildings, sunsets, fence posts, people, old cars, new cars, apples, sign posts, everything red, anything yellow, well... you get the picture. You have a way with words, so add the 1000 words to go with the picture. Occasionally I like just the photo, other times I want the 1000 words. Anyway thanks for the nice comment, Troy