I just flippin' love living in the Information Age. It is the perfect place and time for a Science Chimp to flourish and thrive. Even five years ago, if I had put my hand on the garden gate and seen a tiny iridescent golden jumping spider leap to the next post, I would have bent down, studied it, run inside to my woefully inadequate shelf of invertebrate field guides (well, they're great for big flashy butterflies, and the Kaufman Insect Guide has delighted me again and again, but I didn't have that five years ago), and I would have sadly concluded that it was a really neat little golden jumping spider and wished hard that I knew its true name.
I kept herding it around with my fingers and sticking the Canon G-11 right down on top of it and finally got some acceptable pictures before it disappeared into the marjoram, thoroughly disgusted at my presumption.
My Webby peregrinations led me to a wonderful site tended by an old friend named Dick Walton. Well, imagine that. I haven't seen him since the late '80's, at an Association of Field Ornithologists meeting where I was showing some very early paintings. He's making amazing videos of all manner of small creatures on his web site, Natural History Services. Here's his video of Tutelina elegans doing its thing. Watching it, you can appreciate the wonder of finding a tiny, shining golden-purple spider on a garden gate. Watching it, you can feel the enormity of knowing there's this huge, huge web of people pumping information out into the universe for no other reason than the love of knowing. Thank you, Dick. Thank you, Bugguide biologists. Thank you, Web. Thank you, Universe.