This was an interesting photoshoot. A friend of mine caught this Trapdoor spider in his house. He called me to let me know. I couldn’t make it there that day and I forgot about it. He called me a few days later to tell me that he was about to let the Spider go. Not wanting to waste an opportunity, I headed up to his house.
We released the Spider on his carpet (they are not very fast moving, particularly when they have been in a jar for a few days – he did feed it though) and I took a few photos. I wasn’t getting the result I wanted. We moved a pencil around near the front of it as this type of Spider (and others in the Mygalomorph family which includes the Sydney Funnel Web Spider) raise up their front legs and sometimes hold the position before they strike. When they do strike, it is a repeated downwards motion as this type of strike is the most effective given the orientation of their fangs.
I thought that placing the Spider on his glass coffee table may yield a more interesting result. We moved the Spider there in a jar and placed it on the coffee table. I still wasn’t getting the reflection I wanted. My friend then suggested a mirror – he had one that was small enough to be moved, but big enough to allow the Spider to move on it – this was perfect. We moved the pencil around in front of the Spider again until it held it’s pre-attack position. I took a few shots whilst it was in this position. It attacked the pencil a few times, but soon realised that its attempts were fruitless.
We released the Spider unharmed after the photoshoot. :)