Since my last jumping spider shoot, things have evolved and there has been changed in my jumping spider family. My son decided to give names to my three original spiders: Mioly (Servaea Villosa), Shimily and Sagna (both Opisthoncus parcedentatus). Sadly, Shimily died of old age and I released Sagna back to the garden because she started refusing food after giving birth to infertile eggs. In their place, I decided to get two other Servaea sp. and one other Opisthoncus parcedentatus. To host them, I had to create an extra enclosure from some old DVD cases.
Few days after capturing them from the backyard, one Opisthoncus and one Servaea hid away for several days and suddenly both of them dropped off their skin, they molted! Yay, that was the first time I saw that. So I organised a photoshoot of their little cute helmets. It's amazing to see that even their eyes were covered with a kind of skin, makes it look like a set of goggles.
One of the Servaea was a very aggressive hunter, after the molt she was very hungry and wasn't afraid of going after a fly that was larger than herself.
The second one is a bit more timid and would only go after smaller insects such as fruit/vinegar fly or long-legged flies. In the photograph below, you could see her safety rope coming out of her rear-end and secured to a spot on the branch. She often jumps at the flies wherever they are and fall with the fly into the void but get saved by her rope and would dangle around like that until the venom immobilises the fly and then she would climb back up the rope.
I initially liked the Opisthoncus parcedentatus more because they are bigger but I ended up preferring the Servea species now because of several points:
- I think their overall shape is cutter, they are kinda rounder compared to the more elongated body of the Opisthoncus
- they can be more aggressive when feeding and would run from one side of the enclosure to the other if they see their food while the Opisthoncus would usually wait till the fly comes nearby
- they are generally more acrobatic although it might depend on each individual since Sagna the Opisthoncus I released used to be a really good gymnast too.
I took the photos above with the following gears:
- Nikon D300 with a Nikon AF-S VR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens on a tripod
- SB-900 Speedlight flashgun
- A set of Phottix Oddin TTL flash trigger transmitter to wirelessly trigger the flash, although I could have used the built-in Nikon CLS system.
The flashgun was handheld so I could move it around until I got a light angle that I liked.