Photographing a spider's fangs


Entomologist/photographer Alex Wild explains in Scientific American how he created this absolutely stunning image of a Sydney funnel-web spider at an Australian venom chemistry laboratory:

Dr. Wilson coaxed one of the animals, a male A. robustus, part-way from its burrow, poking it to induce a standard threat display. The spider would then sit motionless for several minutes thereafter, fangs bared and legs raised. As someone used to frenetic ants, a sedentary spider was magic! The animal just posed, still as marble.

"These Spider Fangs Aren’t Going To Photograph Themselves"

Notable Replies

  1. Spiders don't bother me at all, but if I was an You might want to consider moving that pic below the cut.

    Yes, I know, I know, we're all overprivileged, oversensitive, cotton-swaddled adult infants who should man and/or woman up, but still...

  2. It obviously has none of the visceral punch; but what's really disconcerting is that the myriad subtly engineered venom proteins that those brutally elegant fangs are prepped to deliver are vastly more elegant, sophisticated, and precise than their delivery mechanism.

    Being able to grow a couple of syringes on your face is a neat trick; but having venom sacs that 'know' more about disruption of life-critical cellular functions than some chemical warfare PhDs without even bringing consciousness and general-purpose cognition to the game is just plain scary.

  3. posting in this thread before catgrin.

  4. That IS a great shot! LOVE IT!!!

    Some spiders are better than others about doing displays, and that plus size makes for an easier camera target. Sydney Funnel Web spiders aren't small, and they have prominent fangs. Here's a scale pic, so people will have a better idea of their size. (It's not me in the photo.)

  5. When my brother and were kids we used to make scrap books of pictures like that I remember a full page photo of a turantula. Too bad that stuff got pitched 40 years ago because it would have been cool just to see all those old photos from Look and Life and the Saturday Evening Post.

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