hunting for Lyssomanes…

And now for some details on photographing Lyssomanes viridis


I’ve found  this species to be somewhat easier to photograph than the usual jumping spider – largely because of their habitat. Since this species is found on leaves – usually on the underside – individuals do not have many escape options available; when disturbed their typical response is to flee to the opposite side of the leaf.

If you take a slow and measured approach, these spiders tend to remain stationary long enough for some neat shots – though not infrequently individuals will  turn away from the camera; I tend to hold onto the leaf with one hand, makng it easy to adjust my position while not losing site of my subject. Finding a translucent green spider through the viewfinder at twice life size can be a little bit tricky…

Occationally I’ve had an individual jump onto the front of my lens, which results in a scramble to locate the uncooperative spider and often puts an end to any more photos.

An interesting facet of this species is that, due to their translucent body, the movement of the spider’s retina is visible as shown in this animation.

Given the size of this species – body length is a bit over a centimeter – I prefer to use Canon’s MP-E 1-5x Macro Lens; it works for a shot of the whole spider or an extreme closeup of the “face” such as this shot taken at 5:1.


  1. And the flash set-up? The light is very nicely diffused.

    • I’ll be doing a post on my diffusers soon, but I use a slightly modified version of Alex Wild’s diffuser – just tracing paper and tape.

  2. Thanks for the details about your technique. I’ve not yet tried the MP-E at 5X yet but have doing quite a few shots in the 1-3X range. It seems like 2-2.5X is a real sweet spot for this lens.

    Agree with Adrian that the lighting is very nicely diffused – I’m guessing you had the flash units pointed up towards a white reflective surface?

    • Thanks – I actually use a diffuser made out of tracing paper – works for most situations. I’ll be doing a post on diffusers soon so more details will be coming

  3. Hi – I just came across your blog recently. Nice collection of images you have thus far.

    These translucent green salticids are beautiful. I like the second photo – the vibrant colours of the setae on the cephalic region are great. It reminds me of a spider I photographed once in Singapore.

    As a fellow macrophotographer, it will be interesting to see your diffuser setup.

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