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My spider sense doesn’t work at short wavelengths

May 18, 2015

No bigger than an ant but no ant — it’s a tiny zebra spider.

This afternoon, I stopped in an alley off Fir Street and 14th Avenue to tweak the jury-rigging holding my trailer-to-bike connector together — somehow it was snapped in half on Friday while the whole rig was locked up on West Broadway and I was in McDonald’s having my attention monopolized by the drama of a tripping street friend.

When I was satisfied that the hose clamp fix would hold for at least several kilometres I turned my attention to the few ants I could see scurrying around on the high concrete wall at my back.

The wall belonged to a baroque pile called the Kingswood at 1596 W 14th Avenue. This is a huge 2001 condo described as having “European sensibilities” and insomuch as it is an architectural hodgepodge, one might even say it has too many European sensibilities. To my eye, the only thing the exterior lacks in over-the-topness is gilding (inside, its 18 “homes” actually have gold-plated faucets) but what do I know about architecture?

I forgot how small some spiders can be

It's quite iridescent in direct sunlight and what's the optical effect coming out of its

The zebra spider iridescing in direct sunlight and is that silk coming out its backside?

What do I know about ants for that matter? The one I focused my camera lens on was small enough certainly but the black and white stripes should have given it away. It was actually a miniscule zebra spider (in the 5–6 millimetre range) which I have seen and photographed before.

This little arthropod, which is known for its excellent eyesight as well as it seeming awareness when it is being observed, was dashing from one pock in the smooth concrete wall to another. Either it was trying to get out from under the hot sun or my gaze or both.


At zebra spider scale smooth concrete is rocky terrain and tiny crevices are caverns.

Finally it tucked itself into a comparatively large cavity away from the direct sunlight.

When I was taking the photos of the cavity I  didn’t think that I captured the zebra spider at all. Away from intense sunlight and without a strong shadow to give it away, the black and white stripes (which are of course very dark brown) make for good camouflage against natural concrete. Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Fairview, Spiders

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