Allow me to introduce you to Daisy, a jumping spider that has taken up residence in our garden.
Do not get sucked into a staring contest with a jumping spider. You will lose.
With a total length of about one centimetre and distinctive red-orange markings, Daisy was easy to identify as a female Johnson jumping spider, one of the largest and most common jumping spiders in western North America.
Surveying her domain, or maybe looking for a Mr. Daisy?
On warm days she likes to hang out on a leaf or wall, sunning herself while keeping a lookout for her next meal. She doesn’t have a web, instead relying on superb vision (eight eyes providing an almost 360 degree view) to spot her prey. Then she pounces, immobilizing the hapless bug with venom.
Daisy is a shy little thing, and doesn’t like sudden movement. If I make too much of a ruckus, she’ll retreat into the depths of the nearest vegetation.
But most of the time, her curiosity gets the better of her and I’ll soon see her peeking over the edge of a leaf, watching me fiddle with my camera. I wonder if to her my camera and tripod combo looks like a gigantic three-legged one-eyed insect.
I’ve read that sometimes jumping spiders, attracted by their reflection, will leap right onto a camera lens. So far Daisy seems content to maintain a respectful distance, and that’s fine by me.
Gotta love that ‘do. The fringe really sets off her eyes.