Sunday, May 27, 2018

House Spider

This won't be as appealing as the cute birds, but personally I'm quite fond of spiders.

House spider (?)
Late in the evening I found this spider in the downstairs bathroom sink. I see spiders occasionally in the basement but mostly quite small. This one was the largest I'd seen (the body was about 1 cm long and the legs about 3 cm across) and in a good spot to be photographed. I ran upstairs and grabbed the camera and macro lens. Of course, the light wasn't great. I tried a variety of settings but wasn't getting good results. I brought in another light but that still didn't help much. Even the flash didn't seem to be doing too well.
House spider (?)
In the morning I went to check if it was still there, and it was, so I tried a few more things. I realized I had the flash on slow sync. When I changed it to regular flash I got better results. Out of 50 attempts I got a few decent shots. One of the challenges with macro photography is shallow depth of focus. The shot above is two shots focus stacked. But focus stacking doesn't always work well with handheld shots. The rest are single shots. I was using smaller apertures (f11 and f16) to get more depth but that meant high ISO and slow shutter speeds. Luckily the spider was motionless most of the time and I could rest the camera on the edge of the sink to steady it.

House spider (?)
Although it had been quite tolerant of my harassment, eventually it got fed up and tried to get away. It finally dawned on me that it was trapped in the sink since it couldn't climb the steep sides of the slippery porcelain. I set a cloth over the side so it could climb out. Shelley wasn't too happy to hear I'd allowed it to resume its residence in the basement. I told her it would eat flies and other insects but I'm not sure that convinced her.
House spider (?)
Although it took me quite a few attempts, I'm pretty happy with the final results. The white sink made a good background.

Aided by the suggestions, I think this is a Giant House Spider (Eratigena atrica) although it doesn't look quite identical to the other photos. Or it might be a Barn Funnel Weaver (Tegenaria domestica). Likely someone on iNaturalist will id it. Either way, it's not native to Canada.

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