'It took me a long time to find these spiders and almost as long to take their picture,' says Dmitry. The location was a meadow on the outskirts of the city of Rostov-on-Don in southwest Russia, and the yellow-sac spiders were racing around the seedheads, stopping only briefly to touch legs. Here the male is under the female, waving his black palps (the appendages that transfer sperm to a female), presumably signalling his romantic intentions. Dmitry never did see them mate. If they did, the female would have built a sac-like nest for her eggs and guarded the eggs until they hatched. The species is one of the few in Europe with fangs that can penetrate human skin, but the bite isn't dangerous.
Canon EOS 40D + 100mm 2.8 lens; 1/3 sec at f11; ISO 100; wireless shutter release; Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod; reflector.
Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.