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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Nature in action!

About a month ago I found this beauty in my tomatoes:

Please note - I did not scream, but I did jump back a bit in fear.  After I got over my initial shock of literally coming face to face with this spider, I took a moment to admire it's beauty and to snap a few shots.

A couple of weeks later, my mom was in the garden picking tomatoes when I heard of frantic knock at the back door and my mom screaming, "Help me!  Help me!  A giant spider fell on my arm and now it's in my tomato bucket!  Get it out! Get it out!"

Dan and I immediately went to her rescue, but I will admit that we were laughing.  Not at her, mind you, but with her.

Well, technically, I guess we were laughing at her because she was very grim faced.  Not a smile to be seen anywhere from that spider-hating lady!

Dan put the spider back into the garden and I was a little saddened that I wouldn't be able to see it on it's web any longer.  But about a week later, we found that she had relocated to the peppers.  On Saturday, Dan called for me and and Peter to come out and watch the spider.

She was in process of repairing her web.  We watched, fascinated, as she  began to spin a new web.

After a bit, they went in but I called for Sarah and she and I continued watching.  We stood mesmerized as we watched the spider open and close it's spinneret and pull and guide the silk with it's legs and quickly place it where she wanted it to to be.  She complete the web in about 15 minutes and we watched the entire time "oooohing and aaaahing".

We laughed at one point when two giant blobs of white came out of another hole and ended up on the ground.  Spider poop?  Excess webbing goop?  We'll never know but we were sufficiently grossed out.

The best part came when she started to build the stabilimentum (don't be impressed, I had to Google it) which is the darker white streak in the center of her web. I guessed that it was to support her while she sat in the center of the web but apparently scientists think it may also be to attract prey to the otherwise invisible web.

Anyway, prior to her starting the stabilimentum, we were trying to figure out how she would do it.  We assumed she would go over it a couple of times.  But no!  We were very excited to see the spinneret open and start shooting out about 15 strings of silk instead of the one or two she had been shooting out previously.  It was like she had a spray nozzle and turned it wide open.

It. Was. Fascinating. 

I took quite a few pictures and it wasn't until after she was done that Sarah said, "Did you get video?"

Um.  No.  That would have been a brilliant idea.  But alas, you will have to look at these pictures instead.

Can you see the tiny thread coming from the spinneret?

Now it's more of a spray coming from the spinneret as she's building the stabilimentum.

Resting peacefully after making her repairs.

Look how much she has expanded in the last month.  Not sure whether it's all the silk she's making or whether she's about to lay eggs or whether she's just growing. 

If you ever happen upon a spider making it's web, I highly recommend checking it out!


jennwa said...

Spiders are amazing. I am can not believe how many people are scared of them. Beautiful pictures !

Madeline said...

I am not really a big spider person but that's pretty cool. Practically homeschooling over there!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Not a fan of spiders. NOsirree. But I can appreciate the beauty and all of her hard work! Great photos.