While searching for arthropods in a forest near my home in southern Ontario Canada, I discovered a fishing spider (Dolomedes scriptus) under a slab of tree bark. Fishing spiders are common in wetlands where they feed on small aquatic animals, but they are also very common in temperate forests. The spider was in the process of producing an egg sac, so I decided to observe its behavior carefully without disturbance. I noticed it was spinning around in circles while also spinning webs, slowly constructing a silken disk that later turned into a hollow dish shape. At this point I decided to photograph the action, focusing on the separate silk threads coming out of the spider’s spinnerets. As I was watching the spider in its work, I couldn’t help noticing how similar the spinneret movements are to human fingers moving while weaving. I like that the photo shows the spider stretching the silk threads, right before incorporating them into the rest of the forming sac. After about an hour, the spider completed most of the sac and was getting ready to lay its eggs inside it, at which point I slowly moved the bark back in place and left the animal to its business. Spiders at the crucial stage of egg laying become stressed at the smallest disturbance and this can damage the embryos developing in the fresh eggs. I was happy with the photographs I got, and this was enough for me. There was no need to destroy the next generation of fishing spiders for the sake of obtaining more photos.
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Technical specification: Canon EOS 7D; Laowa 100mm f2.8 lens; 1/100 sec at f10; ISO 100; Canon Macro Twin-Lite flash; custom made diffuser.