Grey huntsman with red ‘lips’


(3 February 2017) “Thank you for the excellent photos. Dr Owen Seeman describes the red patches as lateral sclerites adjacent to the base of the chelicerae.” The Queensland Museum is priceless when it comes to identifying creatures, or even parts of spiders. I was wondering what the red patches were. They happen to be small body parts, like joints, allowing the chelicerae to move. These chelicerae are the two things sticking out of the grey huntsman’s mouth. They are hollow and contain the venom glands, and end in sharp, venomous fangs. The two leg-like structures to either side of the mouth are the pedipalps used by the animal spider as “hands” to manipulate food.
The spider injects venom with the fangs, that will not only kill the prey, but also liquify it: spiders consume only liquid foods.
In order to mate with virgin females, male huntsman often search out females that are not quite mature and guard them for long periods. As a reward, the female does not try to kill her mate after mating: that is rare in spider-world. They live up to two years; and not even in prison as would be the case for human males with similar behaviour patterns.
If you need to catch one, here is the instruction: http://www.mdavid.com.au/spiders/catchingspider.shtml

Technique
With slow movements and little sound, huntsmans don’t move when the photographer approaches. I used tripod, and 60 mm macro lens. This lens allows for good detail. With f/7.1 I achieved enough depth of field. With ISO 200 only 1/100 sec exposure was enough, because of good torchlight. I tried a series of photos with different positions of the torch, to be able to see all details, including the eyes. The spider was sitting head down on a tree. By taking the photo upward, I got enough detail of the mouth.