For the last couple days I’ve been trying to get a good shot of a type of very tiny spider I found at the Fairbanks Community gardens in our plot. sp. Linyphiidae according to a member of the Spiders of Alaska group on Facebook. It is only a couple millimeters across at most, did not stop moving, and has a shiny abdomen that reflects light and screwed with my camera’s ability to get a detailed shot. Even without the shine, it would have been hard to focus on as it rarely stopped moving. I got a couple OK shots, but compared to the larger spider (bottom of this blog) that sat for it’s pictures today, the tiny one was more difficult.
In addition I also found a small beetle that was also shiny and moved fast. It had some great detail on it’s back.
My favorite find of the day were some of the tiniest bugs I’ve ever photographed. I’m not sure what they are although someone on the Bugs and Plants of Alaska facebook group suggested a mite of some type. I think they look like a cross between a mite and a spider. They are about the same size as the bright red mites I found this summer, and of course they would not stop moving and were also shiny. Just my luck. I got a couple OK shots. Nothing I’d want to print out, but good enough to get a sense of scale and form. Just getting detail of their bodies at that size is hard.
This evening I was looking at the photographs of these tiny orange bugs on the computer when my son pointed out an even smaller white bug crawling across the wood near them. In the picture above it is just visible on the far right of the image as a small white ovoid. It was small enough that I didn’t see it with my eyes while taking the picture.
I only found these tiny orange insects and the even tinier white one because of one piece of wood in a nice shady moist spot along the banks of the Chena river. This one piece of wood, seems to attract more bugs than anywhere else. It’s only about 10 inches long and 5 wide but I guess size does not matter. I first found it in the spring when I turned it over and discovered some small snails. I’ve been looking under it almost every time I check out this area ever since and very carefully putting it back exactly as I find it.
In addition to the tiny, shiny, and fast critters, I also found a larger spider. I took some photographs of the same type yesterday and someone on the Spiders of Alaska group page identified it as a Pardosa milvina, a Shore Spider. Unlike the smaller bugs today, this one posed for me. I’ve taken pictures of a lot of insects in the last year or two, and what always amazes me is the detail that is not visible at the level that most humans view them. When you get close, the detail jumps out at you. For this one in particular it is the amount of hair and the spiky hairs in particular as well as the striping of the legs that I find the most fascinating.