Earlier this evening, right at dusk, I was out cutting grass around some of the old out buildings I intend to move off of my property. On one of the buildings is the web with my beautiful yellow and black argiope. She was sitting on her web watching me when a large hunter spider, or what around here we call a wolf spider (because normally they don't build webs but hunt like wolves), ran up the side of the wall to flee the noise of my mower.
Realizing that he had stumbled into a web he tried to circle back around but only became stuck. Once he was stuck the female argiope started moving down the web and towards him. He, well understanding what was attracting her instantly played dead. She stopped approaching. They hung like that for a long time, the wolf spider hanging by his two back legs, wrapped in her strong silk and unable to free himself. Finally he started trying to escape again and she made a run for him. He turned on her and possibly bit her, it was hard to tell, and she dropped from her web to the ground. She dropped either because she was actually bitten or merely to avoid his counterattack. Unfortunately the attack and counterattack occurred too quick for my digital camera to capture, by the time it started cycling the shot the whole combat was over. Nevertheless I got some incredible and awesome shots of the run up to the attack, the aftermath, and of both species of spider, together and separately.
With the argiope the shots were so close and detailed with my telephoto lens that you can easily see individual hairs on the body and on each leg of the female in the original shots. I'm not sure how it will come out on the website however. I've been experimenting with new methods of focus and framing shots with my digital camera and these techniques have really paid off in delivery. Not every shot pays or turns out so well but most are producing excellent pictures.
I'm become so good lately that I've become the de facto photographer for my church, whenever they have filming or photography to do they always ask me to take the shots or make the film. As a matter of fact I'm making the shots for the church website tomorrow morning because this is our first Sunday in the new sanctuary we recently built and I'm also assisting with the first baptism in the new sanctuary. Which I'm glad to do as it gives me a chance to experiment and practice, including practice with new equipment.
Anyway here are some of the shots I took this evening. I shot until the light failed and the camera was unable to focus properly due to lack of ambient light.
Both spiders in the web
Female Argiope - notice the beautiful markings and coloring on the huge abdomen. You can also see the eyes in one shot.
Right before the attack
After the attack. You can see the female on the ground along with a grand-daddy long legs who had accidentally also become caught in the web if you look to the bottoms of the shots.