Sunday, 11 March 2012

Spying on spiders

Having photographed this spider in its shelter, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look. So I broke the threads and peeled back the leaf tip.

Although not aggressive, the spider was protective of the little webby bundle, which I'd thought was a moulting chamber. (Like the one on the ceiling above my desk. I really need to spring clean.)

But the spider soon gave up and headed forestward.

It was only when I went back a couple of days later that I realised the webby bundle was one of multiple eight-legged joys, now motherless. This may or may not be a problem for them. Some species of crab spider (Thomisidae) exhibit maternal care, collecting food for their spiderlings and providing them with a nest that they inherit after her death. (At least one, Diaea egandros, also adopts stray spiderlings.) Others just leave their hatchlings to fend for themselves. I'm hoping this was one of those more carefree species.

I feel like a 19th century slum landlord who has evicted an impoverished family from their home. Thankfully, the tattoo of rain on the roof blocks out the sounds of  spinning mules and power looms in the tiny textile factories, where orphaned spiderlings scuttle under machinery to recover materials too valuable to waste.

I don't think I'll do that again..(Not unless I get a cut from the factories.)

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