Tag Archives: regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius)

The little things

One need not look far and wide to see natural beauty, for nature hides her splendor everywhere, even in the little things.

A robber fly (Laphria saffrana) perched on an old pipe (IMG_1076)

What looks like a bee represents mimetic adaptation, a robber fly (Laphria saffrana) wearing the apparel of a stinger to protect itself from predators, all the while hunting with the expert skill of a true killer.

A question mark (Polygonia interrogationis) licking minerals from the ground (IMG_0933)

A butterfly alighting within a sandy clearing stops to partake of minerals on the earth’s surface, the question mark (Polygonia interrogationis) appearing to most as a resting insect when in fact it hungrily consumes what it needs.

A blue mud wasp (a.k.a. blue mud-dauber; Chalybion californicum) perched in a dark windowsill (IMG_0788)

Upon a cloudy windowsill a blue mud wasp (a.k.a. blue mud-dauber; Chalybion californicum) lingers, waiting for sunlit warmth that will never come, still as petrified wood hoping no danger notices its lethargic morning.

A common buckeye (Junonia coenia) resting on the ground (IMG_0951)

Wings spread to soak up sunny warmth, a common buckeye (Junonia coenia) is all but invisible from the side.  At least until you stop to look.

Close-up of a regal jumper (a.k.a. regal jumping spider; Phidippus regius) holding its moth prey (IMG_1417)

A male regal jumper (a.k.a. regal jumping spider; Phidippus regius) holds fast to its moth breakfast, even in the face of photographic invasion, and both circle the gate hidden from prying eyes… at least prying eyes that fail to see.

Close-up of a Waved sphinx moth (Ceratomia undulosa) resting on a pole (IMG_0401)

In shadows deep to avoid daytime heat, a waved sphinx moth (Ceratomia undulosa) lingers in rest, waiting for the dark of night when it can pursue its only adult desire: mating.

No, one need not look far and wide to see natural beauty, for natural beauty can be found even in the little things.

A little unwell

The morning brought with it a sense of dread, a feeling of inescapable doom cloaked in pangs of agony.  And it went downhill from there.

Some ghoulish specter visited me during the night and deposited a sour stomach where my docile tummy had been the day before.

Stress, I think, or at least nerves and stress and fatigue exacerbating what should have been a minor upset stomach.  Though I do feel I’m getting a good ab workout…

Rushing slowly from minute to minute as the day zooms effortlessly by me in a race to bring the weekend to my doorstep, a weekend for being on call and lacking any rest or ability to relax looms just beyond the horizon of night, just over that midnight hill up ahead.

How I deplore being sick, and only slightly less than I deplore my job.  Pulling me under until I can no longer breathe, this employment embodies the scourge of plagues and the death of hope.

But I dare not dwell on it, not today at least.  If I’m to feel better, I must be calm and tranquil.

Seedbox (Ludwigia alternifolia) with the shadows of dew beneath the petals (20080920_12165)
Close-up of a female muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) as she sits beside the pier (20080920_12151)
A male regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius) perched on a twig as he watches me watch him (20080920_12216)
A dark-form female eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) grabbing a sip of nectar (20080921_12561)
An abandoned spider web from an unidentified orb weaver (20080921_12695)
A male northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) perched high in a treetop (20080921_12709)
A red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) resting atop a log waiting for sunlight (20080921_12832)
A fallen leaf reduced to the lace outline of its veins (20080921_12722)

— — — — — — — — — —


[1] Seedbox (Ludwigia alternifolia)

[2] Female muscovy duck (Cairina moschata)

[3] Male regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius)

[4] Dark-form female eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

[5] Abandoned spider web from unidentified orb weaver

[6] Male northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

[7] Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)

[8] Fallen leaf reduced to the lace outline of its veins

Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat!

I stepped into the garage yesterday afternoon to fetch a pair of shoes I’d left out there.  I’d worn them during a recent walk and had returned with them covered in mud, so I left them in the garage to dry out.

The moment I stepped through the door, I noticed something odd about the antenna on my car.  Keep in mind I’d driven it hundreds of miles over the weekend as I journeyed to and from the family farm.  Knowing that, I suspected I was looking at some poor insect smashed against the vehicle at high speed, but this one happened to get hung up on the antenna instead of embedded in the front grill.

I opened the garage door to get a better look.  As I approached the rear of the car, however, the dark lump turned to follow my movements.

A male regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius) clinging to my car's antenna (184_8451)

Aha!  Whatever it might be, it certainly wasn’t dead.

I could see immediately that it was a spider of some kind.  To be quite honest, it was a large spider, perhaps the size of a quarter, and it crouched down to move but would prop itself up to look at me.

The closer I got, the further in the opposite direction it would move.

And so began the chase.  It scampered across the surface of the car while I scrambled around it trying to snap photos.

As if to provide me with a reason to laugh, each time I got too near it would turn, lift its front up, and look directly at me.

A male regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius) staring at me (183_8396)

With it facing me directly as if challenging me to make the first move, I was able to see it more clearly and finally recognized it as a male regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius).

It would then turn and scurry away as if satisfied I did not intend to pounce upon it.  And as it went, so did I in hot pursuit.

A male regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius) scampering across the car (184_8421)

Repeatedly I would attempt to get in close for a macro shot, and repeatedly it would turn, sit up, and look at me directly.  There was to be no sneaking up on this little predator.

A male regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius) closely watching me as I snap a photo (184_8458)

The whole scene must have looked terribly ridiculous.  I ran in circles around the car sitting in the garage, and all the while I snapped photo after photo of what appeared to be nothing more than a dirty automobile.

From my perspective, though, it was nothing as mundane as that.  I was rather enjoying the chase and finding great humor in the spider’s ability to outmaneuver me at every turn, not to mention its apparent sixth-sense skill at knowing precisely where I was even as it tried to make its escape.

A male regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius) trying to get away from me and my camera (184_8459)

We eventually made our way around to the moonroof where it quickly retreated to the center of the car.  From there, it had a perfect vantage from which to watch me carefully, and it could easily escape in any direction based on where I went.

But, alas, the spider owes me a debt of gratitude.  By chasing it to that position, I put it within striking range of a meal, one which neither of us even knew was there when our little hide-and-seek game began.  In fact, I thought the tiny speck was nothing more than dirt from the road trip.  But then it moved…  And the spider saw it.

When he started hunting his prey, I stopped bothering him.  I didn’t want to interfere with food time.

It was fascinating to watch it sneak up, size up, and finally attack and eat the little bug that found itself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It was too dark to capture any video of the event, although I certainly tried.

And once the meal was done…  Well, that’s when I decided to leave the guy alone and let him finish mopping up whatever hitchhikers remained on the car.

A male regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius) in natural light as it stares at me from atop the car (184_8426)