My photographic project this evening was to capture one of the more endearing behaviors (or annoying behaviors, I suppose, for all you haters out there) of hungry ticks. The arachnids crawl to a high point- say, a blade of grass- and wave their legs about hoping to snare a tasty mammal. The habit is called “questing”, and here are a couple of the better shots:
update: Rob Higgins & Brian Allan point out that this male tick is questing not for a host per se, but for a host carrying a female tick.
Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 200, f/14, 1/250 sec
diffuse overhead strobe
Arachnids (you know, spiders and mites and things) never had much of a presence in my photo galleries. While I could chalk their absence up to an obsessive focus on formicids, the reality is that I’m mildly arachnophobic. Photographing spiders makes me squirm, so I don’t do it very often.
Oddly, it really is just spiders. I don’t have any trouble with opilionids, mites, or even scorpions. And it isn’t all spiders, either. I’m rather fond of salticids. But there’s something about the form of some spiders that touches off a deeply instinctual revulsion. Embarrassing for an entomologist, but there it is.
Anyway. The last seven years of photographing nature has brought a reluctant accumulation of arachnid photos, and I’ve finally collected enough to put them in their own gallery:
It’s Thursday night. Here’s a tick:
Photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper
Incidentally, my wife used to have one of these Nephila spiders nesting in the high ceiling of her living room when she was living in Queensland. I guess she used it to dissuade potential suitors, but somehow I made it through.
A close-in crop of the body:
photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec exposure