These pictures are of a young Mexican red-kneed tarantula (Brachypelma smithi) that I bought quite some time ago. It was one of a number of critters that I talked about in this post: A scorpion, a white box and 15 minutes.
The spider is about three inches across. When I first got it its colours were drab and some of the urticating hairs on its abdomen were rubbed-off (urticating hairs are irritating bristles that can be kicked off by the tarantula as a defence). I didn’t want to photograph the little beast until it moulted and had a nice bright new and complete skin.
As I said, I bought this spider to photograph, but it is also an interesting critter. I chose this particular species for several reasons: they are easy to keep in captivity; they are very pretty, and they are docile. Some tarantulas can be very fast, aggressive and/or nervous. I do a lot of my photography on the kitchen table and didn’t want something that would take off and disappear under the fridge the moment I picked-up my camera! Besides, since buying this spider we added two young cats to the household—they would love a young tarantula to play with. Mind you, the cats may have solved the other problem: they keep chasing their toys under the fridge. There might not be room for a tarantula under there anymore.
But I digress…
I photographed the tarantula in the same white box that I have used to take so many of the photos I have posted here (see: How to: white box photography of Macleay’s spectre stick insects). The odd thing is that I wanted a docile spider, but this one is almost too calm! I put it in the white box and it just sat there. It was certainly easy to photograph, but I had to encourage it to change positions. In fact the only time I ever see this spider move quickly is when it is after prey (kind of like me, I rarely move too fast unless there is food involved). Maybe next time I photograph this tarantula I’ll offer it a cricket…
The technical stuff:
Camera: Olympus E-620 digital SLR
Lens: Zuiko 35mm macro
Settings: manual exposure (F14 @ 1/125 sec)
Lighting: on-camera flash (full power)