Kneeling in front of a BWO, I witnessed a brutal attack on the stem of a birch: A spider killed the posing bug


The spider described in this article is actually not a spider, but a Harvester. From Wikipedia: The Opiliones are an order of arachnids colloquially known as harvestmen, harvesters or daddy longlegs. Although both harvestmen and spiders are arachnids, the two orders are not otherwise closely related. Thanks to Todd Traxler for the remark!

The moist autumn mist had a firm grip over one of the most attractive trout- and grayling rivers in Norway. Kneeling by the Rena river, my camera, I and a beautiful BWO (Ephemerella Ignita) were having a late summer ball. The 7-8 millimeter small gentleman was willingly posing his red eyes and erect abdomen.

The BWO was a little cripple I picked from the river with my aquarium net. After having put him on a fungus grown and broken leg of a birch, the Ignita gradually recovered from the hard birth. After straightening out his legs, limbs and wings, the beautiful Blue Winged Olive looked ready for flight.

The pictures following this article is what I managed to record during a few intense and shocking seconds. Working in low light, without a tripod and with a narrow depth of field some of the pics lack the sharpness and composition I usually strive for. But most are quite good however. I choose to share because it’s a good story and the documentation of the pics makes them worth sharing.

The Ignita left this world in front of my naked eye. Not from a feeding fish, but a brutal surrendered murder by Spiderman firmly decided to have BWOs for lunch.

The four first pictures shows the BWO discovering the spider. With three different gestures, it is clear to see different reactions to the threat. But moving fast, the spider finally attacks and gives the BWO the kiss of death.

In pics 5-8 there is still a beating BWO heart, but all hope is lost.

Just as the spirited sole boldly strutted along the white stem of the fallen birch, the most unlikely happened. A spider bounced out of his dark wooden hideouts. Although this drama was about the size of a flee circus, I was in shock and awe after the strike from one of the most efficient little predators in nature. With a resolute sting, the spider killed one of autumns last mayflies, proving that spiders do BWO lunches and the trout are not alone craving for those small mayflies.

After having killed and taken control over the BWO, the spider carries the bug down to the pantry. As can be seen in these pictures, this BWO is not the first mayfly meal for Spiderman.

The pics were shot in Deset, Norway on Saturday 23. September, lunchtime. Equipment: Canon 1DS Mk IV, Canon EF 100mm f:2,8 Macro. ISO values from 800 to 1600. Cropping, contrast and tonal values are edited in Adobe Photoshop.