Mark VanderWerp, manager of education and training at Rose Pest Solutions, Troy, Mich., was announced in December as the winner of PCT’s 13th annual Best Pest Photo Contest for his photo of a jumping spider, Phidippus otiosus.
VanderWerp described that the spider was “perched on a succulent plant, ready to liquefy and slurp up the internal organs of any unsuspecting arthropod passersby.”
The spider was captured in West Virginia while Vander- Werp and Rose Pest Solutions were performing a heat treatment. “They are actually a fairly common spider, especially down South,” VanderWerp said. “These spiders in the South tend to have an orange abdomen, whereas the ones in the North, including this one, do not.”
PCT’s judges liked this photo for its unique perspective and dramatic lighting. VanderWerp used a Canon EOS Rebel T3i to take the photo. “I didn’t use any special effects. The lighting was good and I just got lucky,” he said.
VanderWerp said he actually is a bit “creeped out” by spiders, but is a fan of Phidippus otiosus. “With the bulging eyes and furry eyebrows, they are really like a pet spider. I like to think of them as the ‘Teddy Bears’ of spiders,” he said.
For winning the contest, VanderWerp will receive a $500 prize from PCT magazine.
On the following pages are some of the top 10 finalist photos. Details about next year’s photo contest will be announced in October.