Symbiotic relationship between a jumping spider and a fly. The fly is probably a milichiid species.
Adjacent to a small stream. Altitude 1000m.
I have photographed three symbiotic relationships so far involving spiders. The most common being the relationship between the dewdrop spider and the host nephila spider, another between a nephila spider and a wasp, both involving kleptoparasitic stealing of food on the part of the intruder and acceptance of the intrusion by the host.
Symbiotic relationship implies that both parties get something out of the relationship. In the above two examples, the intruder gets an easy free meal, using the hosts web to catch its prey. The host nephila gets his web cleaned of all the small flies that can clog up the web.
The third, and by far the most interesting symbiotic example was between this jumping spider and a fly.
At first sight, I thought the spider was eating the fly, but on closer inspection, the spider was simply standing over the fly. When the spider moved, the fly moved with it. When the spider jumped to another leaf, the fly followed. As the fly re-approached the spider, the arachnid raised up like it was going to attack, it then relaxed and allowed the fly to run underneath once more.
Obviously symbiotic, but at the time, I could not figure out what the spider got out of the relationship. A few weeks after the shoot, I zoomed in and noticed that the fly appeared to be feeding off the spider. Further research revealed that nephila has been known to allow a fly to clean its fangs after feeding, then, it all fell into place. The fly was cleaning the fangs and around the mouth of the spider after a meal, as can be seen from the second and third images.
As far as I know, this particular relationship has not been documented and extensive searches did not bring up any images of such scenes as this, so I do believe these images are unique.
This set is for Karen, Yasser and Jakubko for making me really feel part of this community.
Spotted on Apr 14, 2013
Submitted on Jul 3, 2013
and 44 other people favorited this spotting