Friday, August 26, 2011

I Has An Orb Weaver

Though the dawn may be coming soon
There still may be some time...
Fly me away - to the bright side of the moon
And leave tomorrow behind
Ooohh Orb Weaver...
I hate spiders.  In fact, it's safe to conclude that anything that wants to bite, poison or beat me up is going to be something I emphatically dislike.  So when this guy showed up outside my dining room window a few weeks ago, I made a brief, attention-span limited and somewhat desultory attempt to kill him (her?).  But there was no good way to get there without taking off the window screen, and I find that half the time, when you do that, you end up with a damaged or ill-fitting window screen.  And since the toxic creepy-crawly was actually outside, it seemed the rules or at least the guidelines of human-arachnid warfare mitigated against the use chemical weapons.  So I stepped back, flummoxed.

Alright, I decided, as long as you stay out there, we'll see if we can coexist in peace.  As the days passed, I began to notice his routine, and his behaviors.  I noticed that if I tapped on the window, he'd start frantically jiggling the various structural components of the web, I suppose in some spider-based attempt to locate the presumptive insectoid snackage.  I watched him with some regularity (I do not have a job, and money is quite tight, so it's not like I was sacrificing a tremendous amount of productive activity in order to monitor the life and times of my fast-growing araneidae friend), but I never got to see him (I'm presuming the male because he looks tough - I don't know if there's a way to actually determine his gender, and besides, c'mon, who freaking CARES?) actually bite anything.  Mores the pity, that would have been cool.  Unless it was me.

Objects in Window May be Creepier than they Appear
So the other day, inspired by the cool butterfly, bee and bird pictures along with the charming commentary at Thunder's place, I decided to provide my newfound spider buddy a bit of immortality of his own.  First things first.  I needed to know what he was, in somewhat more exacting detail than "scary looking".  But then, that's what the Internet's for, right?  So I found this page.  It seemed to describe him physically and got his behaviors down precisely, including his bizarre propensity to hang upside down in the center of his web.  What the hell, is he some kind of Kiwi or something?

Next, for some photographs.  On the upside, he lives on a glass sheet, so getting good pics is fairly simple.  On the downside, I only get pictures of his nether regions, as, due to the effectively 2-dimensional arrangement of his domicile, I've never actually even seen the top of him.  For all I know, he could be paisley and psychedelic.  But the Orb Weaver web page probably would have mentioned that, so I won't dwell on it.  Much.  Anyway, I got a few pretty good shots of his striped spindly legs and creepy mouthparts, which I am delighted share with you.


Update:  In the couple days since I took the pictures and got around to posting them, he has left.  I can only assume that he's had significant trouble with paparazzi before, and when I broke out the camera he knew it was time to mosey along.  Can you mosey in base eight?  Kind of a pity, I was getting used to him, and when you've lived alone as long as I have, you don't find it at all bizarre to spend an hour or so talking to a spider.  They're good listeners!  Vaya con dios, mi amigo...


  1. Cool pic, mikey!

    In fact, that spider might well be female, as in many cases (take your Black Widow, for instance) the female spider is the buffer of the sexes.

  2. (s)he probably didn't want to compete with your Advisor...

  3. Smut's comment is disturbingly informative.

  4. Ahh, but he has nothing to say on the matter of gender. Perhaps his weakness is an alarming lack of expertise in the realm of spider junk...

    Spider underside shows the 'scape', which is the tongue-like extension of the epigynus found in Araneus spp., so it is a lady spider.

    Spider tummy.
    Close-up of lady spider junk.

    All spiders are over 18 and consented to be photographed.

  6. Also teh male Araneus has shorter, club-like pedipalps whereas the one in mikey's photograph has long skinny girly pedipalps.

    The reason for the specialised male pedipalps is that the terminal segments "are elaborated into organs for the transfer of sperm to the sperm receptacles of the female".

    SO a realistic suit for teh spider-dressup sexytime requires special gloves.

  7. What the hell, is he some kind of Kiwi or something?
    Nope, kiwis is bigger. I seen one inna zoo. Unless it was a fecking big spider in which case keep the Smith and Wesson handy

  8. I question Smut's analysis. How can that be a European Garden Spider, when mikey is in California, and OBVIOUSLY there is no garden?


  9. I will, of course, be willing to forgo reporting this trespass to COBA or Z.O.M.B.I.E. if the parties involved send me a minimum of twelve bottles of potent brew forthwith.

  10. "Europe" here is a term of art that includes "parts of North America, in a range extending from New England and the Southeast to California and the northwestern United States and adjacent parts of southern Canada."

    "Garden" may be equally broad.

    Apparently some Araneus species can change their colour (over a period of days) to match whatever they are trying to hide on. The little feckers COULD BE ANYWHERE. That wart? COULD BE A SPIDER.

  11. In the couple days since I took the pictures and got around to posting them, he has left.

    And is now hiding under your bed... waiting... and humming sadistic little spider tunes.

    I can't believe I looked when ZRM warned me. I'm obviously a masochist.