Wednesday, January 31, 2007


The "daddy Long leg spider"
Pholcus phalangioides

I should really call her "Moma long legs" in this case, because this one is definitely a female and very pregnant. As of 1/29/2007 she's ready to pop just in time for spring. Yet there were juveniles down there too. Incredibly, you can see her eggs inside her semi-transparent body. You can also see some of her silk glands which look like legs. I decided to do a look at spiders living in homes. I started in my basement where I let them roam free completely but naturally. My basement is shut with two doors so they rarely come up that way. I don't introduce any spiders to my basement. I just look at what shows up on naturally. Once--a huge and less common louse spider was down there. I wish I had a chance at a second shot but I did get her ok on 35mm film if I can find the picture.

I have been looking at what they are eating, how big they get, population density--and most of all--when are they active and alive. These pictures were taken with a special adapter for my new digital SLR. This shot was taken without her even being frightened. Knowing what spiders can go through from years of experience, I make a choice sometimes weather it is safe to catch them for pictures or I must leave them where they are. Because daddy long legs are fragile and these three were pregnant--I would not ever capture them for a better shot. That's another reason why I get or build more complex macro gear. If it's two expensive I try to build it. I developed a simple flash reflector that gives large amount light coverage above f25 as you can see in these shots.

Yes, she is your first defense. First off--lets get one thing straight. THE DADDY LONG LEGS IS NOT THE MOST POISONS SPIDER IN THE WORLD!

That is a fact. For you fans of the Discovery Channel show the Myth busters--you should know this as they busted the myth. For some unknown, weird and crazy reason this apparently un-traceable myth has even convinced some experts just because everybody says it and nearly everybody believes it. Few spider myths are that powerful. In fact, you could be bitten many times over and you would not even get half as bad as a bee sting in pain or body damage. I never advise playing with spiders or handling them since there is nearly always slight chance of allergies and you might harm the spider. But daddy long legs, if anything, are non-toxic spiders in your home. They are so harmless you need not fear them in your home at all. But they are very fragile and you can harm by using objects to remove them from your bathtub. Tweezers-- plastic or not, will snap her legs or body in two. NEVER use tweezers to pickup a spider! That is kind of like using a the jaws of life to pick up a person--the power would cut you in half or something. That's what tweezers often do to live spiders and insects when people don't know. Instead, as with all spiders, carefully use a large jar and a sheet of paper to push and scoop them slowly into the jar. That will prevent harming them and give you plenty of clearance if you are trying to get another possibly more dangerous kind of spider. Waring gloves can seriously reduce the chances of being bit by any spider since most species that are dangerous cannot penetrate simple gardening gloves. Then let them loose under your house or even in your dark un-used basement--they will almost for sure stay there.

In my quest down in that damp basement I found five daddy long legs in a small space. I was surprised to see full-adults living in my basement which is nearly as cold as it is outside. They are living and even ready to lay eggs now. All three adults were pregnant. They will soon lay a pack of eggs and wrap it in silk. She will then guard them, like any devoted mother. She is a member of the Pholcidae. So she will carry her eggs in a nicely wrapped silk sack that she will hook onto her mouth parts. And she will not only carry these eggs but defend them with her life. I need to go back down there soon to catch that event.

She will lay about 30 eggs. Because she takes care of them--she need not lay 100s like other spiders. She will live about a year, and in that time grow larger (by scale) then even dinosaurs if I recall correctly. I was unable to find any males, chances are they moved on and died. They do make webs but often (like many male spiders) die because they push themselves to starvation looking for a mate (kinda like me :). Not an act of cannibalism.

In fact, daddy long legs are a member of cave dwelling spiders that go back a long time and have learned to tolerate each other in close quarters because of there cave-dwelling history. They fight rarely. I'm not saying it never happens--but often webs are close together and in such close quarters if they ate there own young it would be very difficult for those 30 eggs to make it so they tend to get along. I've seen places where every square foot and more had another spider. There eyesight is not very good at all--but they can tell what is making there web move nearly instantly. Her relatives are the Cellar spider, and a few others that look very similar. You can usually tell by the shape of her body. The Cellar spider has a more globe shaped abdomen and can be larger.

This is a kind of insect midden or "bone yard". Insects and spiders don't have bones but they do have exoskeleton parts that can last indefinitely. Like real bones, you can learn from them. They are made of different stuff but it is often easy to tell the type of insect by the parts left behind. I let these trash-heaps form in my damp cold and old basement I don't use for much. So I can get some idea of what they are eating. A close look at high-res can reveal quickly what these parts are from. These husks are mostly earwigs and ant parts. But I found, many other kinds of insects and flying insect remains such as beetles and flies. Some people use shelves of dangerous and expensive chemicals around near this area to deal with bugs. And yet they have constant problems. I've got ant nests that I know exist in my back yard but since I use no poison there either--they have not made it inside my house. This is because dozens of ant-lions that live under my porch and even more spiders under my house and in my basement where they would otherwise get inside. If you got ants, flies, beetles or earwigs and other unwanted insects--let nature take care of it as much as possible. It works for me!

I moved her a bit just by tapping the web and took this ventral view. You can see most obvious on her shiny abdomen, the epigyne. This is her female reproductive opening. Males, like most spiders--make a small special web (called a sperm web) where they deposit sperm and collect it in there palps. Female spiders have palps but none of the complex apparatus that males do for mating. Male daddy long legs are nearly as large as the females, another good thing to have if you are to live in close quarters with your same species without fights or worse. The larger the male the more danger is to both spiders and therefor less chances of a misunderstanding. I have not found a male down here yet. Male spiders usually get the short end of the stick as spiders. Most of them die after mating and don't as long as the females. Some cannot even eat--born simply to procreate. Below is a tighter view-- her cephalothorax (prosoma) is the body part where all her legs are connected to. On the very top of her body in this picture is her mouth--and just above that are two small things that look like bumps just above it. These are the palps. They look like tiny legs and are used in females to move large pray. They are not considered legs. All spiders have 8 legs and only 8.

She breaths from those two white things on her abdomen. They are just before the cephalothorax (she has two body segments, unlike insects which have 3). Those patches lead to her two relatively primitive lungs. At best, she can see light shapes. Vision just is not needed for a cave spider. Yet all spiders have more advanced eyes then insects. Instead of the "pixcilated" view through compound eyes as in insects, spiders and there larger brains use actual simple eyes with the same in a very basic sense the same parts as our own on the inside. Spiders that see good see better then insects because of this.


Most people think in terms of driving. I often walk and even in winter sometimes find things I think are worth photographing. This is a VERY small mushroom. It's about 10mm high.

Rose hips, are full of vitamins that if I recall, can prevent scurvy. A terrible disease that happens when you just eat meet and or bread. Vitamin deficiencies used to kill settlers so any plants with a supply were quickly grown.
This is as close as I could get with the gear I had on me while I was shooting this area to this tiny mushroom. I only found two and only one of them was like this. The top of this mushroom is very small but I got it in focus.

Two mornings in a row it froze very hard and fog went with it. So cold that I feared for my camera but with gloves on I took a number of ice-world shots.

It is hard to believe that just a week after or so this hard-frost happened--this moss and small plants were growing on a cliff side only a block or two away from where I shot the frost. This picture was shot in RAW. It's JPEG counterpart was so dark that there would be no saving it at all without RAW and the new Photoshop camera-RAW that is now free on line. The picture above was recovered with RAW.

And to finish this post off--here is a rose hip with some kind of spines on it. This shot was taken in full daylight with a flash to make it's features stand out. Learning manual controls on your camera, either DSLR or compact you can let you do shots like this. Film or digital. Shoot
at a very high f-stop. At least f8 if your using a compact camera that only goes that far. If it goes higher go up to about f16. Mainly--up your aperture so high that you can't see anything when you take a shot without the flash in bright sunlight. Unless it's as close up as you need it to be. Then setup a shot at flash-speed (your camera might auto-limit the speed you can use your shutter with because if it is too fast the flash will not show on the picture, this auto-limit for flash sync usually happens at about 60-200). Set your ISO for as low as your camera can go for the best close up quality. And with that high f-stop take the shot with your flash turned on and your macro mode turned on--take a shot. Many compact cameras have a button with a flower icon on it--make sure that is turned on for close shots. You may need to adjust the brightness of your flash, iso and or your f-stop until you get it right.

RAW crystal. These leaves are frozen solid. The new camera-raw download for Photoshop makes it very easy to get the most out of Raw. To get it--do a search on the name of your camera and "___RAW FOR". I believe it works from Photoshop Elements 3.0 to CS2. It's worth it as I can now bring pictures that are nearly totally dark in JPEG and thus un-recoverable can now be recovered and enhanced with RAW. I have been slow to accept using RAW but now realize it's well worth using.


Shocking as it was I once dropped a compact zoom camera, I did not give up as I was shocked to see the lens was mashed in to one side. The idea here at least in compact cameras is to be very careful not to pull the micro-contacts free so hold on right where it stopped. Kind of like holding something together that is really sensitive. Even if it's a DSLR, you may be able to fix the lens yourself. I would not think it possible without having it happen with two totally different cameras. First--don't do anything fast or pull on anything that is easy to pull on and or don't let it hang by a wire or anything--KEEP IT HELD IN THE RANGE OF MOTION IT SHOULD BE. When the lens on one of my cameras got bashed in on one side. Terrified, I figured I was not going to ever get it fixed and thought to buy another camera. (I got my most important camera insured and it's worth it--$100 can cover a new DSLR and sometimes a kit with a lens for 2 years no questions asked repair.) No such insurance existed on my compact.
I pushed the zoom end of the lens gently enough over to towards the right side and like popping back dislocated shoulder it popped back into working fine! That camera has shown no problem since. I would only say this because it happened twice with totally different cameras. Both times were my fault. In my early days one was an add-on lens that pulled it out of socket--the next was another zoom camera that got smashed in more recently. Pulling it out it also popped back into shape. I nearly took it in or bought a new one. That saved me allot of money to try to repair it carefully. I do have semi-serious experience in electronics and electrical engineering-- but it does not require that to move a lens around and get it working again.

Things got froze that morning so hard that I could only stay out for a while. Those tiny things in the center of the picture are plants. I'm not sure if they survived the cold like this.

These are the strange thorns on the Rose hip plant.

One other tip I found out from personal experience is this nightmare of dropping a camera in the field. You drop your camera in the water of course, get it out as quickly as possible and remove all batteries as quickly as you can! And when that is done quickly remove the memory card. Let your memory card second. Dry for a few days in front of a window or fan. My 1gig SD card is still alive and working for me after it fell into a over a foot deep creek getting totally submerged. as soaked. The actual chip is sealed inside a protective plastic blob. The connections are gold plated and thus very resistant to corrosion.

Although I now use CF cards for most everything and have not had one of those more
pro-cards fall into the water--I figure the same thing applies to them. If you drop a card in a creek or something--dry it out for a good week and then put it in a card reader. You should have all your pictures with no problems at all. They are by no means water-proof--but since the chips are sealed and the connections are gold plated accidental exposure should not be an assumption of loosing your entire memory card! I put my SD card back in my MP3 player and still use that one to this day. Sinking over one foot into a creek caused no damage whatsoever!

"CARD ERROR" dead card? Can't format? No card" --camera warnings--read this-
Just the other day I had a 1gig SD card get disconnected too quickly or something. I use it for my MP3 player video camera. I tried using it in my other cameras and got "Card error". Two more cameras came up with similar grim errors. NO way to format the card. No way to use it? Not quite. I have and use sometimes a card-reader. If you use WinXP with a card adapter or reader it might be possible to save such a card. I put the SD card in the slot on my laptop and found that it's pictures were in tact. There was just some error that made the cameras reject it. So this is what worked--

1-Get the properties of that card and see what format it is using (FAT) (FAT32) (RAW)
whatever. *I am not sure if this is necessary but I did it anyway.

2-Copy via using the card as a disk in "My Computer" your pictures or files to save them.

3-FORMAT the card completely in whatever format the card was. In this case (FAT) was the system.

After I did that--I put it in my camera and it has worked since then. I tested it a couple times and found that there is nothing wrong with it. Had I not known, this expensive card would have been gone. Most digital camera's let you format cards--but in this case three different brands of cameras would not let me do it. Only my computer card-reader let me re-format this damaged card. Be sure to remove cards correctly by turning the camera or device your using off before removing them. It is important to note some people don't know. Be careful when camping. Sleeping bags can produce 100s of thousands of volts. You can fry your memory card or even your camera if your not careful. I have failed to fix one card broken a long time ago. It was probably static-zapped. Thankfully Flash memory is getting cheaper and cheaper. The other day I pulled an old PDA out of my stuff from 1998. It's memory still has all it's files in tact even though it has no backup battery and it's main batteries had long-died. Flash memory is rumored to last forever. (more or less).

A leaf--frozen and decayed as if already a fossil. More pics to come--I got a huge database of pictures not yet shown. I thank all who write in. I appreciate your compliments and honest opinions. Don't forget to leave me your e-mail if you ask me a question.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


And here's a picture of me from last year. A relatively complex homemade wide angle lens let me get this shot with a small compact camera in my outstretched hand.

I am here showing one of my lens combos set for high-macro long distance shots. My outfit here consisted of a couple of cameras but the main one is an 8mp digital SLR equipped with a custom grip I made from a flash grip to balance the large lens arrangement. The lenses here are a bellows system placed after a series of extension tubes that are specially connected to the lens-mount of my camera. This is an adapter I invented and built myself. It uses the same solid standard connector (I forget the word for that) So it snaps on like any other lens I use. This is the first picture I have published with the "Phoenix adapter" as I called it since I built it after a spill destroyed a very expensive lens. Rather then letting it gather dust--I scraped it and got it's mounting clip out and put it to use to build an adapter so that it will accept the old Pentax system that will be practical enough for the field. Here it is not set up for shooting long distance as it was used for some of my bird shots. It is what I call "teli-macro"- with certain setups I can use with the old but cheap and easy to find screw mount Pentax system lenses. With the right combination this adapter could literally shoot a flea on a dogs back from over 5 feet away at very nice resolution and quality. But I'd need a very stable tripod, dog, and flea! It's incredible and I never thought it possible. Many people have been very impressed. Most of my shots are taken between 2 and 6 inches away. Averaging about 5. With this rig I can get even the smallest bugs into focus very well from a one or two or more feet away depending on how many and what kind of attachments I use in the Pentax lens setup. The lens here is a Pentax f3.5 to 22 (approx)135mm 35mm.

A sack spider just captured this moth. Sack spiders are really interesting. Another species which at least out here-- tolerate each other and so large walls of many ages and sizes of them can be seen at certain times of year. They are often confused with the brown recluse as most desert living spider that wonder about or do not use webs so often are. Someone will get a bad spider bite and blame the first spider they see. In truth most spider that bite people are lost in the frantic pace of things and most probably smashed. Don't assume anything even if a spider is crawling on you or your cloths. Most spiders bite as they are being crushed by you putting your cloths or shoes on or sitting back with one inside clothing. Keep a stable head if your bit and try to find a smashed spider which might be very small. Don't point at the one in the corner or even on the ground near by and say "that's gotta be the one". Proper identification of species is important and I think there are some over-reactions and myths being created due to this brown recluse mis-identification problem. Don't believe everything that you read about this stuff no matter how many PhDs or big words are used in some bogus or exaggerated and or paranoid reports which so often hit the Internet. Such as the one about those apparently super-massive spiders in Iraq. From certain angles you can make an insect or spider look far larger then it is without using any digital modification software--it can be done with film cameras as well.

A small beetle gets got in an old spider web. It may die here and since there is no spider to catch it I free insects like this when I am done taking there picture.

My budget and interest in home-made gear and making the best of old camera junk is one of my favorite things to do. I build systems that are as powerful as 100s or even 1000s of dollar lenses myself. I am very blessed to have this ability and thankful for all donations made of old gear but I could use allot more! Almost no peace of old camera optical gear is garbage. Solving problems with this and how to build these systems and lenses I credit to training in my teen years learning about how to build things on a budget in Scouts, but most of all to all the time I have had to experiment and learned what works from trail and error. So this old 35mm lens also has a auto/manual switch so that I can adjust the aperture since the adapter only clips into my camera it does not have of course any way for me to set the aperture of this antique but great lens. I also created a makeshift washer with a hard wire of the right side twisted between the screw mount and the lens. It's harmless to the gear--and pushes in the tiny button then enables the lens to be operated manually. As I said I invented and built the adapter with a lens that was accidentally destroyed with a sports drink spill. Removing the mount, I was able to put together a system to link to my growing collection of Pentax lenses to digital use. I got started with still photography on the old Pentax system. Now I have built a field-tested tough system that holds allot of weight and is as solid as any of my other gear. For now the exact means I use to link this kind of a system up I will keep to myself as this post is already too huge! I plan however publish more articles all at once showing my entire setup and at that time tell others about at least some of my tricks and how I got the shots I have, with so limited financial abilities . If it was impossible I wanted to do it. Where there is a will there is a way.

A parasitic wasp shot a while ago.

This is a Sheet web spider. I'm proud of this shot because I had to be very careful to capture this shy species inside his hole. Both the male and the female make a sheet-like web of fine silk and live in a bit of a funnel-like place for there entire life as a home to hide in. The males eventually get of breeding age and wonder in search of the females. This male is still catching food. It is very easy to tell this is a male because of the bulbs you can see just in front of his face--those are the Palps, the Male's complex reproductive organs. They produce sperm from there abdomen but must put it into these storage palps which are swollen in males. A hypodermic style system pushes the sperm into the females more normal reproductive organ when they finally mate.

A female sheet web spider in waiting. The male will find her web and tap out a special message to do a complex dance of dangerous rituals so that mating can happen without either of them getting harmed. In this species, often the males are larger--which is very unusual for spiders.

A male moth is looking for a female with these feelers. They are only feathered like this in males. Most male moths have this adaptation. It makes there feelers incredibly more successful at picking up the smallest pheromones and thus the females in an age old system that has worked since before the dinosaurs.

Now that I carry much more pro-looking gear and I have 'registered' with the local police I no longer get harassed-- but they have to be careful. So if you want to walk or cheaply get around and take pictures, don't trespass, don't take stupid chances and bring ID. If your clean. And be respectful of the police they almost certainly will treat you with the same respect (they have done so with me every time so far). I've never had my camera gear searched or even memory card taken or forced to be deleted. For me, business cards are my "badge" as being a photographer for real. Showing them shows I did not just run out of a house with a handful of stolen camera gear or something! I've been stopped about 3 times by the police while taking pictures, one time was down in San Jose.

"Storm Ghosts"
As if a long dead tornado had come back in calm clouds. The clouds lit up to show a ghostly site of what looks like a funnel cloud. This optical illusion was totally real. AND THIS IS TRUE COLOR--the only thing I did was add my logo to it and trim my levels a bit. In other words--this is straight off the camera and just how I saw it!

Yes! Yesterday afternoon as the sun set here in The Dalles I happened to look out the window to take some shots of the mountains across from me. Then I noticed these sites. The sun blocked by a ridge line, some very interesting things happened with clouds as it got darker and quickly the sun went down. If the clouds were high enough--they did this. Glowing! This is true color and not changes by myself here. (above and below)

Another shot of the same formation. I had to shoot and balance each shot. I took pictures and had a very short time to get it right. I was so relieved when I got it--and so very enthusiastic. The Gorge does often produce beautiful cloud effects, but it is not all that common to see them and catch them on a camera. I got lucky. The tree is dark because I left the picture how I had to shoot it. Once again this is right off the camera. I did not change anything in this picture except add my name.

I have many insect pictures that need to be put on my website! I will get it done slowly. Taking lots of pictures is far more easy then processing them for a website, even if they are all digital.

A tiny wolf spider. This small little agile spider was not just a lucky shot. The camera I used above took this shot with that system (picture of me above this shot) This Wolf spider's big eyes can be seen and what is that it is sitting on? An ordinary garden hose. At several feet away clear and very tight shots at full-res have become possible with my home-built adapter. This is especially important for photographing spiders like the Wolf spider here. They are very agile and fast. It took me a long time to get any shots of them that were any good. When I go to Indonesia and as the spring comes back--I hope to plan many trips with my new digital SLR to photograph more insects and spiders with f30+ aperture settings. This enables a lot more depth of field making good pictures of insects turn out with little or no blurry areas. As I said sometimes-- I wish I was a kid again so that people don't get suspicious of me looking for bugs!
"What the heck is that guy doing?--turning over rocks and taking pictures of them?"
"--he must have stolen that camera!"

A TRUE BUG these little guys live on otherwise deadly toxic blueish berries (Oregon Grapes). There yellow bright warnings and self-confidence shows that they have a toxic relationship with what they feed on. By feeding on a toxic plant many insects and some other animals use the plants poison for themselves to become piousness. Some such animals like the poison dart frog (nearly the most deadly animal in the world) can be raised harmless if not razed on there toxic food sources. They have come to be able to handle the poison on there own and simply stockpile it as a defense.

Here one sits sipping what would be really dangerous for a person. You can just see the Proboscis--it's feeding tube that is like a soda straw extended into the berry.

I often wonder how these guys can fly. Clearly looking like a stick on some old tree, this small moth has many species and they fly to lights all over the world. Some larger kinds live here and have been called "stick moths".

A leaf hopper in green shows f22 depth of field. It's only about 1mm. This is a good example of your depth of field line as you can see before a certain area of the picture it's out of focus and after as well. Only a thin line where the lens was an exact distance from the subject is there any clear focus. This is one of the most important things F-stop lets you control. Just to one side or the other of the hopper he'd be all out of focus. It's kind of like the exponential scales in used with Earthquakes. The difference between F22 and F25 is very large. By F36 or so nearly everything is in focus but even the brightest sunny day will probably be too dark unless you use a very high ISO and or use a long exposure.

This ant gave me a chance to take several shots. I think it's a carpenter ant. Here you can get a good idea of it's size.

A detail shot of this ant that gave me some time to get some great shots through the optics of my adapter on one of my digital SLRs.

This is an old favorite. Staring straight up at the camera I shot this spider on the wall of my house outside. Now I have far higher depth of field abilities but still with crude gear I was able to do far more then I thought I could.

This moth is a medium sized visitor to my lights. This is in millimeters and centimeters--I use this or the broken end of a plastic ruler for measuring size of insects. If you got nothing else and it's safe--use your finger or thumb or a coin to show size.

The Zebra spider from another angle here. It was an awesome thing to find. My new lenses will get me awesome shots when I find another one of these and I manage to catch it at the right place so it does not get scared away. That's where you want 2 or 3 feet of distance between you and the creature.

A ladybug at high-macro climbs some twigs. I have 100s of shots like this I have not published yet. A huge backlog, I just hope I don't post the same pictures to many times!

Another Wolf spider shot of another wolf spider. To give you some kind of idea how small she is, this is an ordinary green garden hose! I can shoot allot closer then this.

In this post I balanced this out with my flash and camera settings (I am only at home in Manual mode) with the DAYLIGHT. That is correct--this shot was taken in full daylight but done with high settings. The idea behind this was to not just illuminate them like this but set the flash brightness as well as my camera settings so that I could balance things in the background while illuminating the ice cycles. This takes a while but can be done. I have more of these I want to post that I achieved this state. This kind of low-flash shot is the same principle I use to make brilliant pictures of flowers and bugs.

This spider was only about 5mm long. A tiny jumper, she was all over the place but I managed to get a few shots in focus a while back. Jumping spiders can see all around there entire body with 8 eyes. Two of them are forward facing and operate much like ours. Stereoscopic vision lets them judge distances for there jumps. The other eyes are not as high-resolution and detect movement and light direction.

Zoomed in and cropped even further, the paint chips may give you some idea of how small this beautiful jumper really is.

There has just not been allot of bugs to shoot during the winter so I have gone into my archives for those pictures. Ice cycles formed after a snowstorm here and I got some pictures of those you will see in this post. This picture was taken while I was balancing my flash to compensate for daylight and still illuminate the details of the ice cycles. I have a few more shots I want to post as I got more.

From my doctor's office in Hood River I shot this picture of what I think is Mt. Adams. I have recently taken a large number of more normal pictures. I got more hits when I was shooting spiders and insects more often. It was and is a good idea for me to diversify and learn every kind of photography as much as I can. It is really powerful and thrilling. To really be the man who shot that picture and shot it in Manual mode able to produce it. That's fun for me. I am not going to fear people will be put off by the big-bug headlines on my website and begin to put more insect pictures on my site. However, I do have to travel after a certain point as repeated pictures like those one's of bees become really old. I need new material and I'm lucky to have a spot for that as well as an area where landscape photos can actually be a bit unique.

This Sack Spider really scored. I really like sack spiders. I am very fascinated about how they get along with each other during the several months that if you have lights to attracted them you can watch them in large numbers. Also, they don't have any of the super-senses that most hunting spiders have. No major hairs--no big eyes. They hunt almost by bumbling blindly into there pray! Yet when two sack spiders meet (at least every time I've seen it--even young and old)--they both retreat in fear by jumping away. They do not eat each other or there offspring as far as I can tell. They are not a communal species but they clearly have a way of telling what they have near them which is probably done with pheromones. Whatever the case--they co-habitat walls and get along in large numbers. Then during the day they sleep in sacks they spin to keep predatory spiders such as the white-tail out. Rumors are crazy about this species because it does resemble in some slight ways and size the Brown Recluse. IT IS NOT A BROWN RECLUSE and should be treated with respect but is basically a harmless species. Take a good look so you can tell how close some spiders get to looking like the dangerous ones.

This is a spider I would not handle. The Internet is full of crap about the Hobo-spider and other spider myths. The Hobo-spider story has not entirely convinced me. I have seen the ones officially called that in Seattle but have no photos of them. I have NOT seen them in Oregon. Only there harmless cousin the grass spider. I often believe that a brown recluse is more likely to be the cause for many of these terrible bites as we have always known. Most people who get bit by spiders cannot or do not actually find the spider they are bitten by. They may simply capture the first spider in the house that they see--or one that is near by. Fact is, there are also many skin infections that even fool doctors into thinking it is a spider bite. EMT and doctors are NOT generally trained in dangerous spiders or spider identification. This must be done very carefully with a good view of the spiders carapace (ephalothorax). Although if you know what a brown recluse looks like, you know it on site. I have never seen a brown recluse in Oregon and I have been looking! This is a white-tail. Or White tip. If you want to remove a spider from your home, do so carefully and know this--they do NOT return! It has no means of seeing or smelling well enough to come back to your house on purpose. Do not remove spiders with a paper towel. Many can bite through it and you almost certainly will kill the spider by picking it up that way. They are very fragile. Rather--try to scare it into a box or jar with a peace of paper--a Tupperware square container often works well. Release it outside and it will not return to your house. Teach your children that spiders are not horrible stinging creatures that eat anything and bite everything that moves. Teach your children that spiders are a very important insect control system. And how to remove them from your home rather then killing them. Let them live in your garden. One Entomologist did a basic analysis of what the world would be like without spiders. We would almost literally be knee deep in dead and living insects nearly world-wide and diseases spread by insects would kill most of the human population as well as food supply. Many of the truly dangerous species of insects which spread disease are controlled by spiders. They even have a place in the home. We are probably NOT born to fear spiders. Several studies have shown it is a completely leaned terror. I do believe that a slithering snake may well have a genetic connection because of how many people could have died from them in our past--but our fear of spiders is probably entirely learned and expanded upon as one of those things society molds us to hate and fear. Some of the same attitudes that are destroying our planet. Ignorance.

This is a true Huntsman spider. NOT DANGEROUS. A find I did not expect here. Related to the large "Cane spiders" of Hawaii (also called House Mothers because they are often left alone so that they eat cockroaches) they wonder looking for insects anywhere they can. They are a larger cousin of the crab-spiders known for walking sideways. The huge brown ones in Hawaii are really hard to catch because they are so fast. They bite when held but that was the only way to catch them! I was bit so many times as a kid I would grab them knowing it. The pain is not even half a bee-sting--at least to me. Do not ever grab a spider or provoke it to bite you. They don't make webs and I have only seen one for all of the 4 years I've lived here. She was also very fast--when I caught her she injured her leg. Incredibly she bit it off and consumed it! Nothing is left to waste in the animal world. She recovered and will probably grow back that leg. I took this shot right before a captured her for further pictures.

A Zebra Spider--a type of jumping spider. Here they are relatively common but so small they are hard to find. It is possible that these markings indicate a juvenile of another species but I highly doubt it. This spider will only reach about 4-5mm in body length.

I JUST GOT FINISHED SHOOTING A SEQUENCE ON THE FIRST HARVESTMAN as well as other insects I found today as it was sunny and extraordinarily warm out here. Finally--I've been able to test my new DSLR on real bugs. There's more coming! Please join me again in taking a look at interesting topics and creatures. I got a trip to San Jose coming up and after that finally a trip to the rain forest in Indonesia where I will have a rare chance to photograph incredible and completely new stuff as I realize a childhood dream going to Guam and Bali with my cameras.