Saturday, February 26, 2011

Not Exactly Dancing Fairies in the Garden... A Spiders Dinner Dance

Now I know that T-chan's not going to like this post - so apologies to anyone that's queasy when it comes to spiders, insects, or just the whole nature thing.

The other night T-chan came inside from our front yard yelling out for me to help a tombo (dragon-fly in Japanese) because it was stuck in a spider's web. Well, I dutifully jumped into my shoes and headed out to do the right thing. Only problem was, that in the 20 seconds that had elapsed, the spider had beat me to the poor tombo. Now this was not a small dragonfly - it's wing span was perhaps 8 cm... so you might get an idea on how big the spider was.

For those that are curious - the spider was an Orb Weaver (the common Australian variety is the Eriophora transmarina... for those that are REALLY curious). Anyway, they are pretty well all over the globe, but they're pretty prevalent here. They're not that dangerous to humans, but their bite will leave you in pain for at least a few hours. They are however, very dangerous to dragonflies and other flying insects.

In size, they're about 3-4 cm (1.5 inches) big... sorry, didn't hold up anything for a size reference. Thankfully however, they are most definitely outside spiders. Now because it was twilight, I had to use the flash on the camera. I feel somewhat guilty about doing this (even with my 250mm lens) as I'm sure it was putting him off his dinner. It was however, in my own defence, difficult to photograph him as he was actually quite mobile - most probably his stomach juices (or the arachnid equivalent) were getting pretty worked up at this point.

Perhaps the most annoying thing is that they tend to spin their webs between trees and therefore their webs are out in the open spaces.We are always finding them spanning 4-5 metres between the trees and bushes and house of an evening. Now I don't have a particular thing against spiders... especially outdoor spiders. They play a very important part of the ecological cycle. Though I have to admit, I do get freaked out by seeing 100's of baby spiders on mummy-spider's back. It's also a little disturbing to see these not-so-little guys suspended, as if floating, in the evening air. There's few things worse than coming home at night, only to walk into one of their webs as you walk from the car to the front door. I will leave the rest to your imagination....

I REALLY REALLY HATE that sensation of walking into a spider web at night... but I'm sure that dragonflies hate it even more than me! Then again, it's nice to go out for a dinner and dance date... just not when you're the main show.

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