Spiders are among the craftiest and most beautiful of arthropods, entirely undeserving of their maligned reputation. Some signal their presence with massive horns or brilliant colors, others attempt to blend into the scenery. Many spin intricate traps of sticky silk, but some chase their prey -- or ambush it, bursting out of burrows hidden beneath Earth's surface. Some spiders are solitary, watching over trembling webs and waiting for the day when they can mate and cannibalize their partner. Others live in colonies, dividing chores among hundreds of individuals. Some spiders are as big as your face -- others can be mistaken for dewdrops.
Hanging from the corners of the world, or tucked into its creases, is a dazzling array of arachnids, mostly going about their lives with little notice from us humans.
But some are lucky enough to find themselves in front of photographer Nicky Bay's lens. Based in Singapore, Bay specializes in macrophotography -- or taking super close-up images of tiny things. Trekking through the region's forests or poking around parks at night have brought him face-to-face with some of the most bizarre and beautiful spiders we've ever seen. Now, he's captured thousands of marvelous images that highlight a diverse and incredible world that's too easily overlooked. "Macro photography opens a window to the micro world, which exists all around us," said Bay, shown shooting robberflies on a beach. "Looking up close can often reveal many surprises."
Singapore, July 2013
Wow. WOW. On July 12, Bay captured this shimmering spider as it transformed itself from a somewhat rhinestone-studded arachnid (right) into a solid wall of spider mirror (below). The shiny, reflective patches on this spider’s abdomen may be produced by guanine crystals, which can be a source of structural color in arthropods. Also commonly referred to as a “sequined” spider, the arachnid is a member of the Thwaitesia genus. In a post on his website, Bay described how the shiny patches were initially quite small, perhaps because the spider was agitated. But as it chilled out, the spider's mirrored patches grew and grew, eventually forming a mesh of beautiful silver cells.