Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The not-dried-out on the dried-out

with 19 comments

The last two posts showed the predilection of the mustang grape vine to twist, whether it’s young or old. Even when the vine’s tightly curled tendrils dry out, they often last for a long time; with only faint vestiges of red* from the time when this tendril was young, its later and longer-lasting color scheme made for harmonious camouflage.

For more information about Vitis mustangensis, and to see a state-clickable map of the places where it grows, you can visit the USDA website. To find spiders in nature, look almost anywhere.

UPDATE: In a comment on February 27, 2012, Spider Joe Lapp added this information: “That’s a Pirate Spider (Mimetidae), genus Mimetus. They eat whatever they find in other spiders’ webs, including caught bugs, egg sacs, and the host spider.”


* I’m reminded of the stele (upright monuments) at the great Maya city of Copán. The ancient Maya carved them from stone, but then they painted them, and to this day traces of the original painted colors remain on some of the stele after more than a thousand years.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 21, 2012 at 3:10 PM

19 Responses

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  1. Beautiful picture, great details and interesting infos.

    Spiral Dreamer (Francis)

    January 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    • Thank you. The lower portion of the picture is especially appropriate for a Spiral Dreamer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2012 at 3:54 PM

  2. Alternate title: The Dedicated on the Desiccated. 😀

    Some of the twining reminds me of the wraps on barbed wire fences. Wonder if any of the originators of the fencing were inspired by nature!

    A good friend just posted from Copán, commenting on that very longevity of color you noted! Great minds synch alike.

    Wonderful shot.


    January 21, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    • I like that alliterative alternate title. Thanks for coming up with it (and yes, spiders are dedicated killers).

      You raise a good question about the designers of barbed wire: so many human creations have been copied from nature, like Velcro and Art Nouveau, to mention two very different things.

      What a coincidence that a good friend of yours should just have posted from Copán and mentioned the same persistence of color on the stele! I haven’t been to Copán since the 1970s, but I saw those faded traces of paint in person. I also took infrared photographs of the ruins.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2012 at 11:03 PM

  3. […] a follow-up post in the afternoon showed tendrils that in their dried-out and faded state served as camouflage for a similar-looking spider. Now comes a picture in which young and old combine. This time a fresh tendril—you know […]

  4. I wanted to say something witty but all I can think of is stunning.

    Bonnie Michelle

    January 22, 2012 at 8:05 AM

  5. Really terrific image of the interdependence in nature, Sally

    Sally W. Donatello

    January 22, 2012 at 8:12 AM

  6. I never saw a purple spider, never thought to see one. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

    Pat Bean

    January 22, 2012 at 9:05 AM

  7. love the spider! I find them quite fascinating. 🙂 we had a 5 legged spider crawling around the bathroom yesterday. I wish I knew how he lost 3 of his legs. Well, I’m assuming he lost them.


    January 22, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    • I’ve taken my share of spider pictures, primarily because they’re so common on the plants that I photograph.

      I’m assuming your spider lost three legs rather than having been born with five, but just as there are people who are born with missing parts I guess it’s possible that spiders could be too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2012 at 4:10 PM

  8. Excellent capture of the spider on the grape tendril! The framing and focus are bang-on! Great job!!


    January 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    • Thank you. It was certainly a bonus to find that camouflaged spider—and to get it in focus using only natural light. The aperture was f/5, so I didn’t have much depth of field to rely on.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

  9. That’s a Pirate Spider (Mimetidae), genus Mimetus. They eat whatever they find in other spiders’ webs, including caught bugs, egg sacs, and the host spider.

    Spider Joe

    February 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    • Thanks for that information, Joe. It helps to have an expert looking at these spider pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM

      • You’re definitely welcome. And thanks for the beautiful pictures. I’ve been planning to start an online citizen science project around spiders found on flowers, and a blog was going to be part of that. Now I’m feeling keen to start that blog sooner rather than later, accepting people’s photos from around the world.

        Spider Joe

        February 28, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      • I’m glad if I’ve given you an incentive to start your spiders-on-flowers blog. WordPress makes it pretty easy to start a blog (thanks, WordPress).

        Steve Schwartzman

        February 28, 2012 at 9:22 AM

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