Bug close-up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]

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Spider close-up: Anterior Median and Anterior Lateral Eyes of a Phidippus princeps Jumping Spider
Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

 Bug close up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]


Introduction

This is among the most incredible macro photography of bug close-up we have ever seen. The awesome photos, and breathtaking, amazing macro bug portraiture of Thomas Shahan. He has given us permission to publish outstanding bug close-up of spiders and other inspirational insects. All enquiries and more photos can be found at ThomasShahan.com [28 Pictures]

Hint: Click on the inspirational insect photo to see larger a original version. Use “J” and “K” keys to navigate from bug close-up picture to bug close-up picture. Marvel at the architect of these creepy crawlers.

2856337087 d1a732ce70 o Bug close up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]

Bug close-up: “Hanging-Thief” Diogmites Robber Fly
I spotted this one hanging (from one leg) off a large blade of the tall grass I was walking in. As I slowly moved closer to take a photograph, I noticed a jumping spider watching the scene from about a foot and a half away. So I had to decide between the two, and as usual, I went for the jumping spider. I took several photographs of the spider, got all the shots I wanted, and carefully turned to see if this robber was still hanging there.

To my surprise, it was still there. As I moved in closer, I noticed it had captured a bee, and there was a few tiny flies hanging out around the robber. I was afraid I would scare it away if I tried to change lenses so I used the setup I was using for the spider photos (50mm reversed on extension tubes) to take a few photos of the robber.

This photo isn’t the best focused of the bunch, but it was the only photo were that little fly (seen in the bottom right of the frame) wasn’t sitting on the robber’s eyes. Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Spider close-up: Adult Female Cardinal Jumper (Phidippus cardinalis)
Here’s a beautiful and fairly large (~15mm) female Phidippus cardinalis I found a while back while wandering one of my favorite haunts.

She proved to be quite skittish and somewhat agressive – frantically darting around, waving her palps, and even baring her fangs at me a couple times. I ended up rolling up a leaf to make a little tunnel for her to relax in. In the image above you can make out the curl of her shelter reflected in her eyes. The blue of the background was yesterday’s cloudless afternoon sky. Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Crane Fly – (Tipula)
Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Spider close-up: Adult Male Hentzia palmarum Jumping Spider
This guy spent some time cleaning his fangs with his palps, giving me a chance to try a high magnification shot. Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Eyes of a Holcocephala fusca Robber Fly
Man, was this one difficult! These little robbers are incredibly skittish – an absolute pain (literally!) to shoot. They will hold onto their perch (usually the outer tip of leaves) no matter how hard the wind may blow – but as soon as you get anywhere near them, touch the leaf they are on (no matter how gently) they will fly right away. So I have found that the only way to photograph them is to just stand there and shoot away without any means of stability.

Somehow I found one little guy that would let me get close enough to focus, and 66 shots later, over a period of about 10 minutes of standing bent over with sweat pooling in my eyes, the leaf blowing in the wind, and my hands shaking from fatigue – I just gave up and checked to see if I got anything at all. Out of all those shots – about 30 missed the fly entirely, 33 were completely out of focus, and 3 were good enough to focus stack. I was ecstatic! 3 good photos taken completely handheld in windy conditions at 5:1 magnification at f/8 is no small feat! And even better – the background wasn’t black! Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Spider close-up: Adult Male Jumping Spider Hiding in Leaves – (Habronattus coecatus)
What a beautiful day today was! Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Colorful Broad-headed Sharpshooter Leafhopper – (Oncometopia orbona?)
I’ve been trying to photograph one of these beautiful leafhoppers for a few days now.

They like hanging out on the stems of some tall sunflowers in my backyard, and as you walk around the plant, they swiftly move to the opposite side – making them very difficult to spot.

This guy proved a bit more friendly than the others, and crawled up on my finger and let me re-locate him an a big leaf which I held up to the sky and photographed him on. (So the blue background you see is actually a cloudless sky). Once I was done, I put him back right where I found him – on the sunflower. Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Spider close-up: Phidippus audax Jumping Spider
I decided to stop by a nearby RC plane runway on the way back, and as I approached I spotted what I thought was bird shit on the aluminum bleachers next to the runway. Once I was about 15 feet from it I knew instantly is was an adult male Phidippus. A nice find for me, as it has been over a year now since I photographed an adult male Phidippus audax.

This species (or genus if you like) has without a doubt the greatest chelicerae, with a wide range of colors. This is the deepest blue I have encountered, and was beautiful in person. Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Red Velvet Mite – Trombidiidae (Allothrombium?)
I realize this photo may not be a huge hit with you guys, and it’s definitely not my usual fare. A fascinating animal regardless of the quality of the photo. I’ve read that they can be quite ferocious little predators, feeding on several different arthropods – including other velvet mites – though cannibalism doesn’t appear to be too uncommon in the arachnid world. Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Spider close-up: Adult Male Tutelina elegans Jumping Spider Eating a Red Mite
He eventually wandered to the top of a round sandly colored rock and I got down low to get some blue sky in the background. Not long after I started shooting from this angle, he lunged forward and then popped back into frame with a tiny red mite secured in his fangs which was already busting juices from its abdomen. Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Bizarre Fly Head (Hoplitimyia constans)
Note the stripes going through the compound eyes. Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Spider close-up: Male Hentzia palmarum Jumping Spider
This species has extremely long, metallic chelicerae and huge fangs with white hair along the edges of the chelicerae.The white hair underneath the eyes and the orange through the eyes is excellent. A really nice looking species. Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Male Striped Horse Fly (Tabanus lineola)
Take a look at the larger size, it’s really a beautiful fly. Through the viewfinder I watched him make several bizarre movements with his front legs, totally different than any other fly I have seen. Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

3390244117 a928581f5c o Bug close up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]

Spider close-up: Adult Female Jumping Spider – (Phidippus mystaceus)
Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Spider close-up: The “Apache Jumper ” (Phidippus apacheanus)
I debated how to go about photographing this little guy as my usual “portrait” angles would deny his most prominent feature – the beautiful reddish-orange markings atop his cephalothorax and abdomen. I’ve never seen such vivid markings on a salticid before – he was really quite something to see when held up to the sunlight! Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Damselfly with Prey
Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Ant Mimic Spider Face
3-4mm. It uses it’s front legs to mimic the antennae of ants. Walks just like an ant as well. Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Spider close-up: Female Rabid Wolf Spider – (Rabidosa rabida)
She was FAST. Despite missing a leg, she made several (almost successful) escape attempts. On the deck, she cleared a good 10 feet in just a few seconds while trying to get away! Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Blue-faced Meadowhawk – Sympetrum ambiguum
What a cooperative dragonfly! He found a perch at about eye level and didn’t mind me moving in for several photographs. The background color is from a turning leaf I held behind the fly with my left hand while firing away with my right. Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

4797623953 5b24d701fa b Bug close up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]

Spider close-up: Eye Arrangement of a Hogna Wolf Spider
Lycosid eyes may not be as clear or reflective as salticid eyes, but their arrangement is just as fascinating and wolf spiders supposedly have pretty good vision (although not nearly as applauded as the jumping spiders). A couple of times while photographing the spider seen above, his/her eyes would light up at certain angles just as cat eyes do in the dark – really on odd sight to see a spider with glowing eyes! Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

3339417842 59f4a49efb b Bug close up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]

Bug close-up: Face of a Southern Yellowjacket Queen (Vespula squamosa)
Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

5022054910 8377266273 b Bug close up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]

Bug close-up: Robber Fly with Prey (Holcocephala fusca)
Those beautiful compound eyes are just spellbinding. Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Robber Fly (Triorla interrupta) with Dragonfly (Plathemis lydia)
Witnessing this female Triorla interrupta take this young male Common Whitetail right out of the air was an amazing sight – it simply pulled him right out of the air, and after a minute or so of bouncing and buzzing about in the grass, she was sucking him dry. Dragonflies are certainly vicious predators, but they’re are no match for these beautiful robber flies. From what I’ve read, these Triorla robbers are absolute beasts that regularly take down prey much larger than themselves – grasshoppers, katydids, dragonflies, and of course – other robber flies. Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Spider close-up: Sitticus fasciger Jumping Spider
A nice looking spider, the colorations and patterns of scales are great. The palps have some interesting hairs as well. Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

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Bug close-up: Female Blue Dasher Dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

4682937741 dca7ae1dc4 b Bug close up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]

Bug close-up: Female Striped Horse Fly (Tabanus lineola)
Bug close-up photo: Thomas Shahan

4856784721 f5fa02f044 b Bug close up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]

Spider close-up: Adult Male Phidippus putnami Jumping Spider
These adult males have to be some of the wildest and hairiest spiders out there – the markings and tufts of hair are just unparalleled. Spider close-up photo: Thomas Shahan




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54 Responses to Bug close-up, beautiful spider photos by Shahan [28 Pics]

  1. Juan January 3, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    Amazing! Thanks a lot for these fantastic photos!

  2. Janina davison-forder January 3, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Amazing pics!
    I hate spiders but these ones look so good.

  3. Jodi January 3, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    The colors are phenomenal. Nature never ceases to amaze!

  4. sheila January 3, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    wow, i will now begin to really see the beauty in things i had not even thought of before. just think how much beauty we miss on a daily basis because we don’t open our eyes to see it

  5. dru January 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    talk about “facebook”. these creatures are the real deal, as opposed to one announcing the tying of their shoes one fine morning. absolutely glorious photos—thank you. and a most fruitful, content new year to all

  6. John Flower January 4, 2011 at 1:15 am #

    Thanks. I’m not a fan of spiders (or similar types), but these pics are amazing. Great job.

  7. andrew January 4, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    astounding photos

  8. donald January 7, 2011 at 4:09 am #

    This was AMAZING. Great job. Thanks

  9. Terry January 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    These are exquisite! However, I’d love to know where you took these so I NEVER EVER go there. (Hah!) Here in Missouri we have brown recluse spiders galore that LOOK harmless but have one of the most lethal bites, if not the MOST lethal, of all the world’s spiders. I have a feeling that your ferocious-looking arachnid pals look fearsome to prey in their pint-sized world, but wouldn’t have any interest in us big lumbering giants except to get away from us pronto! Thank you for sharing your art.

    By the way, a friend forwarded me some breathtaking photos of the earth from space, which I viewed before seeing yours, so I’ve been from macro to micro in a heartbeat. How magical is that!

    • Denis January 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

      Um. Terry , if you would like to google funnel web spider you will probably be moved to revise your rather parochial statement that the recluse spider has the most lethal bite of any of the world spiders. We in Australia have been living with the funnel web spider which will kill you quite quickly if the correct anti-venine is not administered soon after being bitten. They are extremely aggro to boot.

  10. Fred January 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Great Photos! Teach Me

  11. Nev Durow January 14, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    These photos are fantastic!

  12. Claude Nall January 14, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    I am also a wildlife photographer. (however not published yet) Most of my work is with telephoto lenses, of water birds, in the Louisiana swamps. I have used a 50mm 1.7 lens with macro filters to shoot the ‘small world’. The detail and colors incorporated in insects is amazing. I once followed a Praying Mantis, literally through a bush, to get close ups of it. I’ve had a damsel fly light on my hand as I paddled through the swamp. It stayed for quite a while allowing me to get some wonderful close ups.
    I can appreciate the time, patience, and physical effort that goes into each of your images. It seems that ‘criters’ can feel your level of calmness , and will sometimes allow you to get very close without alarm.
    Your images are absolutely fabulous! Thank you for posting them.

  13. Le Laroi January 14, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Spectacular my friend…WOW!

    I will be sharing these with my best friend’s children. Texas 13 years of age who already has 3 businesses, raising foul of all sorts and big into nature and his little sister Trinity who is 11 who has fallen in love with the Equine creatures already having 5 horses. I believe both be astonished to c your amazing photos as I was.
    Mr. Shahan what a joy you have brought to us all by sharing with us the fruit of your labor, we highly appreciate your talent! God has blessed you richly to allow you to c HIS magnificent creatures like this. In the scale of things my friend u r a pick of only a handful who have received such grace… for what u do is Oh !…so special. Good day

    my life hidden w/Christ n God!

  14. cara curtin January 15, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    I learned to appreciate spiders when I owned a book store in a very old house. I named the banana spider guarding my front door one year Leonidas – because he guarded the pass – but I cannot repeat the names I gave the absolutely humongus wood spiders that terrified me. I still have nightmares about the pregnant one who released her egg case all over an outside wall of that poor little house.

  15. FunOfPhotos January 20, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    some photo are there http://goo.gl/gby9O not the same, and others creator

  16. Elyse January 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Simply stunning!

  17. Ange January 21, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    wow, I love your stuff, really amazing, what lens are you using?

  18. LucyKnarnia January 21, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    In love with this picture, they have beautiful eyes.

  19. Ben January 21, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    and these are the result of evolution – I think not!

    Amazing set of images of such wonderful creations

    • Igor Laninga January 22, 2011 at 2:32 am #

      You’re exactly right! This is created! And what are these great pictures! I enjoy this so much ……

      • Dom February 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

        Come on really? Did you have to go and mention something like that? Do you really think that out of nowhere these arachnids became the perfect hunters? No. They’ve been evolving colors and traits and behaviors and even mating dances for hundreds of millions of years.

        http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-04/20/big-spider-fossil

        These guys have been doing their thing millions of years before mammals even existed. Did you know that some young spiders can fly on their webs? Or that others can spin an airtight web and live underwater? Others share burrows and keep tiny toads as pets. These things don’t just appear out of nowhere.

  20. Ray Bilcliff January 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Outstanding shot of little some bits of nature, that normally go unnoticed, I love the shot of the Robber Fly and the dragonfly.

  21. Naveen January 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Speechless!!!!Amazing!!!
    Well done!!!!!!

  22. Eric January 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Fantastic…stunning…almost unreal…….amazing….it’s a pity that my ancestors couldn’t see this photo’s……i feel privileged…..

  23. Omnomnom January 22, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    These photos are awesome…but bugs still creep me out sometimes. D:

  24. Johannes January 23, 2011 at 3:29 am #

    The most beautifull pictures of spiders I ever saw!

  25. Annie Larsen January 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Scary but amazing!!!

  26. hayley January 23, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    All of their eyes are so beautiful. These photos have me in tears I will never kill a spider again

  27. daantje January 24, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    geweldig!!

  28. Ken Kravetz January 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Absolutely spectacular!!! What was the magnifiction on the photos?

  29. Rhoda January 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Amazing… beautiful and technically wonderful!

  30. Patrick McCarthy January 27, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    Wow.

  31. Celia Berrell January 28, 2011 at 2:59 am #

    I fell in love with jumping spiders when I lived on Lizard Island in the Coral Sea, Australia. Thank you so much for sharing your stunning photos. It is as though you are revealing the awesome alien secrets of our own world.

  32. Brian Benham February 9, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    Wow. that is crazy. What type of camera and zoom lens did he use? my favorite is the ones with the four eyes

  33. Leonard Solomon February 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    I love your pics. I was taking close-ups of a jumping spider once; he kept backing up, facing the lens, then suddenly he disappeared from the viewfinder. Couldn’t find where he’d gone, until I looked at my camera, and he was sitting on the side of the lens. Geddown, boy.

  34. Jonah April 17, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    THATS OKAY I DIDNT WANT TO SLEEP TONIGHT ANYWAY

  35. Ysanne Gayet December 3, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Am painting some rather “naive” spiders and wanted to find a face for them. I am stunned by how intricate they are. Do all types of spiders have 4 eyes on one side? In the photos it seems they also have eyes on the other side too?
    By the way, I live in Paraguay.

    • Lu February 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      Hi Ysanne,
      Spiders can have up to 8 eyes. The number of eyes and their positions depends on the species.

  36. Lu February 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    This site is absolutely amazing you’ve just become my favourite site in the whole world I cannot find enough words to thank you for this incredible gift.

  37. fred April 19, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    amazing

  38. c May 28, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Really great pictures… I like them all…

  39. James Speorl - Frederick, MD June 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    WOW! These are amazing pics!!!!!! I think I saw some of these cool-eyed flies on Miami Vice, lol. A few of the others look like wanted posters hanging in the post office, LOL.

  40. Mark Theory July 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    stunning pics

  41. Carina September 22, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Wow! They are the most amazing photos of bugs i have ever seen!! I was mesmerized, although a bit creepy I was so intrigued. They seemed almost beautiful in some ways. You have a real art at capturing such fine specimens!! Macro photos at their finest!

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