Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two narrow things that at first seemed to be one

with 15 comments

Click for greater clarity and considerably larger size.

During the October 29th session that brought you a picture of a ladies’ tresses orchid, I stopped to photograph several developing seed heads of a native grass called hairy grama, Bouteloua hirsuta. On one seed head I was surprised to find this elongated spider, which Joe Lapp tells me belongs to the genus Tibellus. Note the ant on one of the spider’s rear legs. The little white thing at the far right end of the grass head is a flower; there would once have been many more of them, but the others had already fallen off or been knocked off.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 6, 2012 at 6:19 AM

15 Responses

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  1. That is excellent camouflage! I never saw the spider until I read your paragraph telling me that it was there! I am really enjoying your inclusion of the insects and arachnids you find along the way. ~Lynda


    December 6, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    • Camouflage indeed: I didn’t originally notice the spider either but was grateful for the picture opportunity when I did see it. Thanks for letting me know you’re enjoying the occasional insect and arachnid portrait you see here. I feel it’s only appropriate to show them because I find so many little critters interspersed with the plants. Tomorrow’s post will take you higher up the evolutionary tree and coincidentally to the top of what was once a real tree.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 6, 2012 at 7:53 AM

  2. Wow!!!! What an incredible shot. I didn’t even notice the spider until you pointed it out.


    December 6, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    • Luckily I pointed the spider out to myself first, so I didn’t miss the chance to photograph it, as I might easily have done.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 6, 2012 at 7:57 AM

  3. I too never saw the spider! What a fabulous photo.

    Bonnie Michelle

    December 6, 2012 at 7:25 AM

  4. Ah, ha! And not only an elongated spider, but an elongated crab spider! Apart from the cute little black and white jumping spiders, these are the most common on boats. They often live just under the toe rail or caprail that runs around the outside of the boat, and I scare them up in the course of my work. They like lines, too – they’ll “elongate” themselves and are nearly invisible on the rope.

    I spotted it on the flower right away, probably because I’m so used to seeing them “hide” that way. Now that I think about it, I can’t remember ever seeing one that’s not on a boat. I’m glad to know they’re not just nautical!


    December 6, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    • I can imagine how an elongated spider would blend in with a rope, which is the epitome of elongation. I’d have been surprised to find a boat on the hillside where I took this picture, but I did see, just a few yards from this grass seed head, the broken-down wooden sign that’s been there for the several years I’ve been photographing on the property.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 6, 2012 at 8:07 AM

  5. What a great spider! A new one for me. And that tiny flower makes the photo just perfect.


    December 8, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    • I’d seen elongated spiders, but I don’t think I’d ever seen one on a similarly elongated object. I’m glad you like that last tiny flower, which I didn’t notice at the time because I was so focused on the spider.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 8, 2012 at 10:56 PM

  6. What an extraordinary creature. I really had to focus to see it. I just love Nature. Thanks for sharing this one, steve. PS: What do you think the ant was doing on its back leg?


    December 10, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    • I’ve puzzled over that ant. I didn’t see any movement from it, so I’m assuming it was dead, but I don’t know that for sure. How it came to be on the spider’s leg, I just don’t know. I often see things in nature that I don’t understand. Sometimes I’ve found or been given an explanation, other times not.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 10, 2012 at 7:50 AM

  7. You have quite the eye, Steve! I’m always looking for spiders, but I might have overlooked this guy. I can’t believe you saw it. And a great crisp capture (with azure sky) to boot.


    December 28, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    • I might easily have overlooked it, too. I was surprised when my picture of a grass seed head turned into a picture of an elongated spider. Say serendipity for Steve.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2012 at 4:06 PM

  8. […] Scattered among the mountain pinks at the entrance to the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve on June 20 were some dry and comb-like seed head remains of Bouteloua hirsuta, a native grass known as hairy grama. (Last fall in these pages I showed a seed head of this species at a somewhat earlier stage, when it served as a platform on which a little creature managed to disguise itself.) […]

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