As I continue databasing old photos, I have renewed interest in trying to identify things that I gave up on identifying at the time (typically years ago). Sometimes, like many problems, taking a break and coming back with a fresh mind can give you new perspective and lead you to the right answer.
In this case, the problem was this jumping spider that I photographed in Lambusango, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, back in 2011. I am by no means a spider expert, and when I got back I figured this little guy was a member of the genus Cosmophasis, which is made up of many colorful and iridescent tropical jumpers, mainly from Asian and Australasian regions. I went through the laundry list of members but couldn’t find a good fit, and eventually moved on to something else (as I had come back with photos of hundreds of organisms). Well this time around I checked my assumption on Cosmophasis (I don’t quite know why I was so confident about that back then) and looked around a bit more and found a good match with the genus Chrysilla, specifically C. lauta. Some images online closely match my specimen in coloration, with the exception of the fact that most online images have a red transverse band across the top of the cephalothorax, which mine lacks. Interestingly, one expert I emailed about this issue was unsure if this species has been recorded East of Wallace’s line, so this may be evidence for a range extension if this really is C. lauta.
I vividly remember taking photos of this specimen (I took hundreds). My friend Silviu, a herpetologist from an English university, dubbed him “senor spectaculario” for his outrageous, luchador-like coloration. Truth be told, I am not very happy with my photos and it makes me cringe a bit to look back on them despite the incredible beauty of the specimen. I had recently purchased my dSLR at the time, and was shooting solely in JPEG instead of RAW to conserve memory card space, as I went days or weeks at a time in the field without an opportunity to save my photos to a hard drive. Furthermore, I did not have a flash unit, so I used the body’s flash or natural light, and the situation was very dim. With my current gear and experience I would have made much more of this opportunity, but alas I have no idea if I will encounter this amazing animal again. I only saw one individual during a month in the rainforest.