Nature's Witness: Spider Jump Shot

An entomologist and photographer hopes to inspire love of his favorite subjects

  • Photograph by Thomas Shahan
  • PhotoZone
  • Jul 26, 2016

WITH HER GREEN HEADLIGHT EYES (one of four sets) and iridescent pink mouthparts (attached to robust fangs), this female regal jumping spider makes a glamorous addition to Thomas Shahan’s growing portfolio of spider portraits.

An entomologist and imaging specialist with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Shahan became enamored with spiders as a kid in his Oklahoma backyard. Today, his infinitely detailed macro portraits reveal spiders as works of art that he hopes will inspire love (or at least respect) for his favorite creatures.

;People fear and demonize spiders,” says Shahan. “But they are beautiful, beneficial animals—the unsung heroes of ecosystems.” By showing the beauty of specimens such as this Phidippus regius—one of the largest of some 5,000 species of jumping spider—Shahan hopes to give all spiders a reputation makeover, “turning repulsion to reverence.”

To submit images for consideration, write to with subject line “Nature’s Witness.”

More from National Wildlife magazine and NWF:

NWF's Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Ranger Rick: Jumping Spiders

Get Involved

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates