The chill of autumn has started to bite signalling a change of seasons and right on cue are sightings of the beautiful velvety Cape Autumn Widow butterflies. Hundreds can be see hovering above the grassy banks along my coastal hiking path. Dainty creatures flitting to and fro. The reference book says that they will deposit their larvae eggs amongst the kikuyu and low shrubs. I’ve began to suspect that hordes of caterpillars will soon be descending into my seaside garden. Only plants of a hardy nature thrive next to the coast and one of the species that does well is statice, or sea lavender. The fine, lacy flowers come in shades of blue, lilac and pink and they are prized as cut flowers for their ‘everlasting’ quality. Whilst the flowers have an almost papery texture, the leaves are a power house of green vitality. Of all the plants in the garden these are the ones which are mercilessly munched down to the stems and in the past a bristly caterpillar has been the culprit. I’ve not been able to track down the identity, but have a very strong suspicion that they are the offspring of those gorgeous dancing butterflies. Already there are the signs as tiny, skinny worms appear by the day. Investigating further i discovered to my surprise that Salticidae – Jumping spiders have also taken up residence. Known for their acrobatic flying stunts, they’re dubbed the bungee jumpers of the arachnid family. Attached by silk strands they’re able to launch into the air after flying insects and should they fluff it they able to return safely along their shoot lines. They’re also equipped with four pairs of eyes for excellent all-round vision. Would it be that they’ll be tempted to a juicy fat worm or two? I wonder?
21 thoughts on “A Jumping Spider, Dancing Butterflies.”
Such beautiful pictures! How big is that spider I wonder? 🙂
Thanks Snogumman 🙂 They’re tiny about 10mm…. but very feisty. May be able to handle the newly hatched larvae, but doubt they’d tackle the full out bristly critters. Keeping a watch…
Gorgeous butterfly. We get jumping spiders here. I wish you hadn’t shown me what they really look like. 🙂
Thanks Ad! Hehe, sorry about that – hairy spiders are not everyone’s favourite.
Lovely post as always.
I was reading earlier ones and see you are in Simons Town. I have fond memories of visiting the Naval Museum and walking up the wooden steps into the chapel, the treads worn by the thousands of feet that had passed before, a hundred years after my grandfather had visited when in the Royal Navy. My father visited too on a holiday a few years before me so I guess it’s become a family tradition!
Nice to read your connection with Simon’s Town and your family tradition. In your grandfather’s day it would have been quite the bustling naval base, bet he had some stories to tell. Glad you got a taste of the steeped ‘naval air’ although our ‘fleet’ is very much pared back these days! Love it when we have visiting foreign naval vessels for a bit of pomp and ceremony.
Oh heck I’m going to have nightmares now!
Oh dear! Arachnophobia? Sorry about that! Although these little fellas are quite comedic with their binocular eyes and flying acrobatics. 🙂
Thanks Elena 🙂
my book says sea lavender grows from Siberia to Saldanha – I like that!
A hardy species to survive in Siberia 🙂
Thanks Amy. Macrophotography is a real trial and error process for me!
Great macro shots! The last spider one is actually quite cute as it looks a bit melancholy.
Thanks Lori. Lovely, yes could spin that storyline… a sad and lonely bachelor waiting for a mate…
Beautiful images. I love them all, but I think voracious appetite might be my favorite! Thanks for sharing these images.
Thanks Chris 🙂 Poor plant is looking quite ropey!
Awesome, especially that jumping spider, hello! You threw me with the talk of autumn at first, then I realized where you were writing this from. Good inspiration, now I’m thinking it’s been too long since I’ve done much macro. Thanks!
Fabulous set of photos, Liz. Our jumping spiders are more green than yours – I imagine there are different varieties. I saw a butterfly today – first time this season.
🙂 thanks Sid. Always enjoy your comments! Yup the Salticidae are an impressive spider family…. over 500 genera and more than 5000 described species! Amazing traits.. athleticism, keen eyesight and territorial assertion – very alert hunters. Glad to read of your butterfly sighting, a promise of spring in the air?