Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jumping Spider Tries to Fly

This little jumping spider sat on a milkweed leaf outside my front door and patiently watched as I carried loads of miscellaneous items from the house to the car. It would face me as I approached, pivot as I walked past and continue watching in my direction until I returned. I thought he might be a cooperative subject for some photos.

As I approached with the camera however, he turned and fled. He ran down the midrib of the leaf, around the milkweed stem and out to the point of the opposite leaf. The only shots I could get were posterior views.

With nowhere left to run, he turned to face me.

Now, if I was dealing with a canine I would consider this to be an act of submission.

It wasn’t submission. The spider lifted high its abdomen and began to release long strands of spider silk. Caught on the edge of the leaf with nowhere left to run, the spider was ready to try a daring escape. Produce enough silk and it would act as a sail to carry the spider safely away with the wind.

Unfortunately, the plan had a fatal flaw. Being trapped between two sides of the L shaped house, the winds were too erratic to successfully carry the spider aloft. The sail was set and the spider launched. Instead of heading up into the sky, the spider proceeded straight earthward. It’s a lucky thing that spiders always have a safety line attached. The spider was able to halt its decent after falling less than a foot. It wasn’t a hard climb back up to the leaf.

All that was left was the cleanup. When I moved away, the spider was still pulling in his silken sail.

A Camera Critters submission.


  1. Wow - amazing! Look at those eyes!

  2. Fantastic photos! Love them. Did you see all the critters under the leaf in the first picture?
    Perhaps spider babies ;)

  3. Hi ladyfi. Jumping spiders have wonderful facial expressions. The eyes always seem to be watching you.

    Thanks Birgitta. Those yellow insects are aphids feeding on the sap of the milkweed. A cluster of baby jumping spiders would have been too cute for words.

  4. Nice macro shots.

    Regards and best wishes

  5. Wow, the closeup is really cool. Great captures.