'Love of the wilderness is... an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us,
the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need - if only we had eyes to see.'
Edward Abbey


Picture

Picture

10.2.14

The Jumping Spider and the Ant


A few weeks ago I was admiring the veggie patch behind our house when I noticed the red pepper plant had a leaf with another stray leaf resting on it. I gave it a tug but it was fastened solidly. I decided to peel away the front and have a look to see who was living inside.


I often see jumping spiders prowling through the garden, but I hardly ever see them doing more than that. Their world is so miniature, and so its really special when you happen to meet them at an interesting moment.



Two weeks later, a little jumping spider had caught a common house fly just one plant down from the red pepper. He wasn't actively eating it, but just holding onto it, waiting. I then glimpsed a tiny ant making its way up the stem towards the spider. When it approached, the spider, who had been rather still, shuffled to the end of the leaf with the ant hot on its heels. Just as the ant was about to make contact, the spider suddenly rappelled down to a lower leaf along a thin strand of silk. The ant momentarily paused at the edge of the leaf, seemingly disappointed that the spider had rather cunningly fled with the fly. It was obviously after a free lunch. After a brief scuttle back towards the stem and down onto the lower leaf, the same thing happened again. I never got to see how it all turned out, but managed to snap an intimate portrait before the jumping spider rappelled down yet another leaf tip.