Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 29 comments

Click to enlarge.

While wandering the banks and bed of upper Bull Creek on April 26th I photographed a colony of wild onions (Allium canadense var. canadense), on one stalk of which I found this svelte spider. I later turned to Joe Lapp for an identification and he said it’s an adult male in the genus Tetragnatha, which belongs to the family of long-jawed orbweavers. I hope you’re slack-jawed enough over how stretched out this spider is that you’ll long remember its similarly elongated pastel portrait. (And I hope you will despite the fact that arachnophobia ranks among the most common of all human fears, presumably because various spiders around the world are venomous, even lethally so).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 23, 2019 at 4:13 PM

29 Responses

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  1. A good eye…


    May 23, 2019 at 4:23 PM

  2. A perfect pose.

    automatic gardener

    May 23, 2019 at 4:37 PM

  3. Ooh, nice find, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    May 23, 2019 at 4:38 PM

    • I know you’ve had similar experiences. Almost every time I look at a bunch of plants I find some sort of critter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 23, 2019 at 4:51 PM

  4. Wow, Steve….extraordinary!!


    May 23, 2019 at 8:46 PM

  5. Fine image, I haven’t seen a long-jawed spider in a few years. Comically stretched out,


    May 23, 2019 at 9:03 PM

  6. Send my thanks to Joe for the identification, too. Right now, the boat I’m working on is covered with these spiders — not this particular species, I suspect, but certainly the genus. There are big ones and little ones and medium-sized ones, and they’re extraordinarily good at hiding. They’ll stretch out on the underside of pieces of wood, and I don’t know they’re around until I disturb them with sandpaper or a brush, and then they run for their lives. They seem to be fond of the undersides of docklines, too, and I’ll find them stretched out like this on stanchions. I’ve never really thought of them as spiders — I suppose because of that strange, elongated pose. Tomorrow I’ll look more closely.


    May 23, 2019 at 10:21 PM

    • Can’t remember when I saw my first spider of this kind but it was a long time ago, years. What I’ve never seen, though, is more than one at a time, the way you describe. Could the proximity to water have anything to do with it, I wonder? Or might the substances you use in varnishing attract them?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2019 at 4:38 AM

      • I’d cross varnish off the list of possible reasons for spider infestations, since all boats have them.There are multiple species, too. The little black and white jumping spiders are common, and another one with a bulbous body that I’ve never identified. Once, I was bitten by a brown recluse while working in Port Aransas.

        My hunch is that it’s often air rather than water that brings them to the boats. When the babies hatch and are flying around on their silken strands, thousands of them get caught in the rigging of boats — you can see the streamers shining in the sun. Some no doubt get carried aboard in boxes and bags of supplies. Once caught or brought aboard, they set up housekeeping, and they’re determined little critters. I can wipe down a couple dozen webs every morning, and the next morning they’ve been rebuilt in the same spots. They’re prolific, too. Every now and then I come across an egg sac; sometimes, I miss one, and the next thing I know I have hundreds of little spiders running around.


        May 25, 2019 at 7:38 AM

        • Ah, air. I wouldn’t have thought of that. I wonder if anyone’s done a study of spiders on boats. It may be a unique ecosystem.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 25, 2019 at 7:44 AM

          • The boat washers may have an on-going study in process. It’s odd but true — every spider seems to leave a different sort of droppings, and they’re all difficult to get off.


            May 25, 2019 at 7:47 AM

  7. Thought initially that you’d found a stick insect rather than this interesting spider. Neat creature!

    Nature on the Edge

    May 23, 2019 at 11:41 PM

    • That’s a good comparison, one I didn’t make, perhaps because I’m so used to seeing spiders on plants that nothing else suggested itself to my imagination.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2019 at 4:41 AM

  8. And you identified it too. Terrific.

    Sherry Felix

    May 24, 2019 at 5:50 AM

    • The forms and colors work harmoniously in this portrait. That was my part. Then I turned to someone who knows spiders to find out what this was.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2019 at 6:05 AM

  9. […] last post brought you a picture of a long-jawed orbweaver spider on the stalk of a wild onion, Allium canadense var. canadense, along Bull Creek on April 26th. It occurred to me that I should […]

  10. Great shot Steve, I would never have picked that as a spider ..


    May 27, 2019 at 4:23 AM

  11. ‘long-jawed orbweaver’ does not sound at all flattering.


    May 27, 2019 at 3:49 PM

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