Saturday, September 06, 2014

Big Spider, Small Drama.

The worlds of animals can be interesting and dramatic. Even the so-called "little critters". Witness this spider on my route.

For days I have noticed a particularly large green and yellow spider on the front step of one of the first stops on my route. The owners of the house must be cool folk because they have not disturbed her web. I know many people who would have instantly destroyed the web and perhaps even killed the spider. She is quite the large spider, as such things go here in North Carolina. Her arms could easily span the length of the palm of my hand. That's pretty big for a spider around here.

I was hoping that she would still be in her web today and so took my old Canon Powershot along with me. It's not the greatest camera in the world, but it's reliable and takes decent photos. I tend to take it with me on casual strolls or in situations where I think there could be risks (water, drops, etc.).

And I refer to the spider as "she", because I'm pretty sure there's an egg case beside the main web. It's a big whitish cocoon that looks kind of like a small pomegranate. So, there I was, on the step, and the web was still there and she was still there. (Spiders are not generally known for having long lifespans.) I took a photo which came out okay. I was getting ready to take some more shots and was leaning in close when I noticed another large spider trying to make its way onto the web. It looked kind of like the spider I'd come to shoot, but not quite so large and with a different color scheme. But the same basic body pattern. I took it to be a male, perhaps come a courting.

Why I took the camera to work today. Not sure what species. Some kind of Orb spider, I think.

But, as I said, she already had an egg case. So I was wondering if this guy was making a bad decision. I've heard stories about what happens to male spiders who come to mate when the female is not interested. At this point I decided to take my mail bag back to the van and put it inside and take a few more photos. This took about twenty seconds.

When I came back, the "male" spider was nowhere to be seen. The female was no longer in the center of her web and if I hadn't seen her moving I would have missed her. She'd climbed partially down and was very busy. Wrapping something up in silk.

'And Mr. Smith, when you returned to the scene, what did you see?'

'Well, your Honor. I saw the Lady Spider going back into her house.'

'And what did you notice?'

"Well, sir. Your Honor. She was dragging a package.'

'And what kind of package?'

'A corpse-shaped package, your Honor.'

Oops. I think the dude messed up. Big time.

In the time it had taken me to run across the yard and come back, she had attacked the male, trussed him up, and had him ready to eat at a later time.

Beware, boys. Beware.

You must admit...she's a beauty.


whisper_the_wind said...

Argiope aurantia...the garden spider, aka the writing spider, aka...Charlotte

James Robert Smith said...

I looked them up. The females are notorious for killing and eating most of the males who arrive for courtship.