I just happened to be going through some images to submit some older stuff to iStock and I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. Not when I took it, and not when I added the image to my library. I took this photo of a spider in a web on Banda Neira, one of the spice islands in the Banda Sea where the dutch used to get nutmeg. Look and behold, on its back is another tiny spider, almost certainly a male mating with the much larger female. How cool is that!
I wrote a small article about how to photograph mating hamlets for DuikenInBeeld, an online magazine. It was the first time we ever tried shooting hamlets, even though they were right under our noses for years in the Virgin Islands where we stay every winter.
In the last few years, images of mating Hamlets have turned up in several publications. Julie and I love watching natural behavior, but we’ve never really taken the time to go out and photograph Hamlets. St Croix is actually a very good place to do this, as there are different species of Hamlets here, and lots of them. So we finally went out last night to see what all the hubhub is about.
We didn’t really know what to expect. We’ve photographed mating behavior of other species before, and some species, like for instances Dragonets can be really difficult to approach. So we were ready to stalk our prey and stop breathing. None of this turned out to be necessary. The Hamlets were completely oblivious to our presence and at times would actually swim within two feet of us by themselves. Their mating session lasted for about 30 minutes, during which they went up into the water column about a dozen times to mate. It was quite interesting to watch.
So here it is, my very first image, shot when they went up the first time.