"Photography - Creepy Crawlies" Personal Page by Beach_dog


A couple of months ago I invested in a macro lens for my camera, but had not had much opportunity to use it. On a recent trip to La Mancha in Spain, we saw a few interesting insects and spiders and I was able to practise a little with my new lens.

Carmen spotted this spider while we were exploring some Roman ruins of Sisapo near Almodover del Campo. It is one of the prettiest spiders I´ve ever seen, with its red and black abdomen and pale blue kneecaps.

I would like to thank my VT friend and botanist, Albert, Ableroy who kindly identified this spider and some of the dragonflies below.

The following text is a quotation from Gerald Durrells book ''The garden of the gods''.

Eresus cinnaberinus (male)

"It was Roger that first introduce me to one of the most beautiful spiders in the world, with the elegant sounding name of Eresus niger. ...

I went over to see what it was; then suddenly I saw something so startingly beautiful that I could hardly believe my eyes. It was a tiny spider, the size of a pea, and at first glance it looked like an animated ruby or a moving drop of blood. ...

"Aha!" said Theodore, taking a swig of ginger beer, before producing his magnifying glass the better to examine my capture. "Yes an Eresus niger ..., um ..., yes ..., this is of course the male, such a pretty creature, the female is ..., you know..., all black, but the male is very brightly coloured."

On close examination through a magnifying glass, the spider turned out to be even more beautiful than I thought. Its forequarters or cephalo-forax, were velvety black with little specks of scarlet at the edges. Its rather stocky legs were ringed with white bands, so that it looked as though it was wearing striped pants. But it was its abdomen was really eye-catching; this was a vivid huntsman's red, marked with three round black spots rimmed with white hairs. It was the most spectacular spider that I had ever seen ..."

The garden of the gods,
Gerald Durrell 1978


Further up the path we saw this stick insect, a Praying Mantis. At first he just stared at me as I started taking photographs.

I must have got too close, he clambered off his rock, turned sideways and opened his wings. I think this was a gesture to scare me off, he must have thought that the camera lens was a bird.

The colour on his wings was quite amazing and unexpected, it reminded me of an eye and I´ve read how butterflys sometimes have markings similar to eyes on their wings to scare off prey.

Dragonflies (Crocothemis erythraea )

The following day we went to the Natural Reserve at Damiel. Freshwater lagoons fed by the River Guadiana. Its a hotspot for waterfowl, but October is a quiet month. We did see some interesting dragonflies though.

There were many of these Red Dragonflies about. I could not use the macro lens as these little fellas would not allow you to get close. So for these I used a telephoto lens from about 2 to 3 meters away.

Sympetrum fonscolombei or Zygonix terrida

Finally another dragonfly, maybe the same species as the first but a different sex. Any help to identify these insects would be appreciated.

  • Page Updated Dec 21, 2004
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