Grey Wolf Spider

I went out to Theresa Creek Dam a few weeks ago and went for a ride from the dam back towards town. It was after dark, and I had my lights on, including one on my helmet. The one thing I couldn’t believe whilst riding along there, was the shear number of spiders that were on or beside the road. Many Australian spiders, particularly Lycosids (wolf spiders) have highly reflective eyes, and if you hold a torch at around your own eye level, you can spot them from several hundred metres away as bright green specks of light.

So last night I went back to the same place equipped with a torch and a couple of containers.

This is what I found:

A rather pretty little wolf spider. Although she has quite an attitude.

A rather pretty little wolf spider. Although she has quite an attitude. Not that I blame her for that.

Anyway, after catching the centipede the other day, my interest in macro photography has been fully rekindled. Thus I sacrificed a body cap and a front lens cap to the gods of photography. In other words, I attached a front lens cap to a body cap, and then cut a hole in the finished adaptor order to mount my L series zoom on the camera reversed. Of course once mounted there’s no auto-focus, no image stablisation and no aperture control*.

Here’s a selection of the results:

Regarding species ID, based on a few hours of reading and Googling, it appears that the Australian spider classification is all over the place at the moment, with huge numbers of species, including rather common ones, that have not even been described by science. As a result, I know she is a wolf spider of some kind (Lycosa sp.), but species identification requires an expert and in some cases, a stereo microscope. I’m not that desperate to know what she is.

* A note on the reversal of Canon lenses: You can get around the electronic aperture control by following these steps:

  1. Mount the lens correctly
  2. Set the aperture in AV or M mode
  3. Press and hold the Depth of Hold Preview button
  4. Whilst holding the DOF Preview button, detach the lens as usual
  5. Mount lens reversed

On that note though, I do not accept any responsibility for any damage you may cause to the camera or the lens (or anything else for that matter) by attempting the above. I also can’t guarantee that it will work. It works for me on my EF 24-105mm L, 50mm 1:1.8 II, EF 28-135 IS USM, and I have not ever damaged a lens doing it, but you mileage may vary. Try at your own risk.

This of course also means you need to compose, focus and meter with the aperture already set at what you’re going to use, which can mean the viewfinder will be very dark. I had to have my 900 lumen bike headlight shining on the spider to even see it, and that was outside on a bright day.

Also, once the lens is reversed, the zoom and focus scales will be reversed (and not accurate either). As an example, using my 24-105mm the closest focus and maximum magnification was at the wide end of the zoom, and the focus was further back when it was set to the closest focus possible.

Shannon Walters

An amateur photographer who also spends time making chainmaille and doing too many other things to mention.


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