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Jumping spider (Thiodina hespera)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Jumping spiders are among my very favorite animals, especially the brightly colored ones.   They look (and behave) like they're full of personality -- highly visual and alert, active, and seemingly unafraid.   They're aggressive predators that act like big cats: stalking prey and attacking in a leap or a rush, then biting and wrestling it into submission (sometimes they go for insects much bigger than themselves).   These photos show two female Thiodina hespera; it's a fairly large species, maybe 10-12 mm long (thanks to Marshal Hedin of San Diego State for the identification).   I found the one in the top 4 images outside my lab at the University of California, Riverside, and it was relaxed enough to permit several shots at the maximum magnification (5X) permitted by the specialized macro lens I was using.   The other spider was crawling on a rose blossom in our garden when it was found.   The animals' 8 shiny eyes are very apparent.
            Images of other jumping spiders are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

  • Canon 1D Mk. II, Canon MP-E 65 mm macro lens, Canon ring-flash (2005, 2007)