Saturday, February 22, 2014

Long-jawed orb weaver

My backyard is full of sticky webs. Navigating around, I need to be very careful not to destroy these homes built by spiders day in day out. If I were a Leucauge venusta, like the one in this photo, I would be very upset if you walked right through my home and I will have to start rebuilding it from scratch!

Do you know why this species has the name venusta in its binomial name Leucauge venusta? Look at the photo. It's beautiful! This photo is high resolution and you can click on it to see what I mean. Venusta means just that, beautiful in Latin. Remember Venus?

The orchard spider is a long-jawed orb-weaver spider. The Venusta orchard spider is among those orb weavers that spin their webs near the horizontal plane. Females almost always sit underneath, at the center bottom side up. These spiders are tiny. From above, they look like a pair of orange eyes watching you. These are the spots on their rear end. Quite deceiving, aren't they? Because they are hung upside down, the head is below, hidden by the beautiful long green legs.

It is not easy to take snap shots of these spiders whose webs constantly sway in the wind. I had to use my digital camera and a macro lens. If you are curious, this photo is resampled from a raw shot of 18 Megabyte using a 100mm Canon macro lens at widest aperture of f2.8, at the speed of 1/160 second and ISO 400.

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