Bug Shots

A closer look at insect photography

A deadly embrace

Posted by Darren on July 25, 2010

One fact about Lynx spiders (Family Oxyopidae) that never ceases to amaze me is their hunting ability.  These small spiders (7-8 mm) are certainly not afraid to take down prey larger than themselves, or even other spiders as I discovered yesterday.  I was actually trying to get a photo of the brown coloured lynx spider as it scurried along a small twig only to discover another lynx spider jump upon it and attack.  It was all a fierce tangle of legs as the attacker managed to sink its fang into the victim as it dangled itself from a strand of spider web.  The attacking spider appears to be an Elegant Lynx Spider (Oxyopes elegans), though I’m not sure of the identity of the unfortunate brown lynx spider.  I would have thought the fight evenly matched looking at the size of the two spiders, though there is no doubt that the Elegant Lynx Spider was quite efficient in dispatching its rival.  By the look of the large palps on the brown spider, it appears the victim was a male and the victor a female.  I only spotted the beautifully camouflaged brown spider as it was moving and didn’t even see the other spider until it sprang to attack.  I wonder if the attacking spider had hunted the rival for food or perhaps in defense of a territory or a nest.  It was certainly a great moment to catch on camera.

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5 Responses to “A deadly embrace”

  1. Mike B. said

    Amazing shots. I love the dragline visible on the attacker in the first photo.

  2. Darren said

    Hi Mike. I was very happy to get a shot of the dragline before the spider climbed back up with it’s victim. I always look for action shots like these, they make for some interesting macros. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. You are producing great shots with your relatively simple gear. This spider sequence is excellent – just the type of thing that makes our hobby so fascinating. Bug portraits are ten-a-penny these days, it is this type of technically precise behavioral photographs that are really exciting. Kudos.

    • Darren said

      Hi Adrian, thanks for the feedback. I’m also glad to be getting good results with my Nikon gear in this Canon orientated world! I’ve been very happy with my new Nikon TC17EII Teleconverter to push my 105 mm that bit further. I haven’t noticed any major loss in sharpness and the autofocus still works even though Nikon say it was not available with this lens combination. Behavioral photos are my favorite to shoot and I’m always on the lookout for shots like these. They just provide so much more insight into this alien world that people rarely see.

  4. Great shots, it is always so interesting to take a peek into this unknown world and see how these creatures behave.

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