I came into contact with Thomas early this summer, in the course of working on a spider project. After seeing his work, I contacted him and he was very gracious in agreeing to work with our team. You can see a broad range of his photos RIGHT HERE.
Other people have noticed Thomas’s photography, and this attention led to his recent appearance on the Today Show. Check THIS LINK to see it.
Below are a few of Shahan’s stunning images of jumping spiders, one of his favorite subjects. All of these species are among the 76 species of jumping spiders known to occur in Ohio. Enjoy!
A male Habronattus coecatus (most of these spiders haven’t yet been branded with formal common names). Quite the charmer, this little guy. Looks big, ferocious, and deadly, but at the same time just about as cute as a spider can possibly get. Most jumpers are tiny; a big female of some species might push the tape to 3/8 of an inch, and many males would be measured in millimeters.
They are ferocious predators, albeit on a Lilliputian scale. Good thing for us they aren’t the size of German Shepherds or we’d have a situation straight out of Eight Legged Freaks!
Jumping spiders are aptly named. They locomote with incredible springy bounds, and when suitable prey is detected, it'll be leaped upon, often from a good distance away. Some jumpers can reportedly make leaps of up to 80 times the length of their body! To match this feat, a six-foot tall person would have to be able to jump something like 500 feet - from a standing start!
Another amazing thing about jumping spiders is their ability to retain the exact location of prey, even when it isn't in view. This allows the spider to stalk prey, and work into an optimal position for pouncing, without having to constantly keep the victim to be in sight. Jumpers can even leap from a blind spot, and apparently still strike with deadly accuracy.
Work such as this is not only interesting to look at, and quite artistic, it goes a long ways towards getting people interested in spiders - one of the most maligned groups of animals.