Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Boris The Spider

So Sunday night. Greg, Travis and Kristen (the people that we rent the second floor to), Kim and Ian (a post doc in my lab + her boyfriend), and myself were all sitting around a fire in our backyard on Dwight Street. Suddenly, I notice a spider floating several feet above Greg's head.


Let me describe the setup. Garage to the right: 8 feet tall, 3 feet away. Tree to the left: 30-40 feet tall, 15 feet away. Chiminea in front: 4 feet tall, 2 feet away. Spider: floating above our heads (about 6 feet up), completely in the center of this. The spider had a pink body with yellow striped legs.

After much confusion, we finally figured the whole thing out. The spider is an orb weaver. They let a line of silk thread dangle from a high location (i.e., the tree on the left) until it sticks somewhere (i.e., the garage). Then they go the middle (i.e., above Greg's head), drop a line, and wait for it to hit something else (i.e., the smoking hot chiminea). The line stuck to the chiminea and the spider ran down to secure it, hit the hot metal and ran back up. Then it spun a web. A truly amazing web floating seemingly midair 7 feet off the ground. It was one of hte most spectacular things I've ever seen. The whole construction took place in less than 30 minutes. It was really amazing...the web was strong along two main support lines that were at least 15-20 feet long. Truly...just amazing.

It's killing me that I still don't have my camera battery charger (after the New Orleans habitat for humanity trip you'd think I'd learn hu?) so I couldn't get any good shots. I did use Greg's point and shoot to get a few, though they're pretty crappy cuz it was dark out and I couldn't control exposure or aperature. Here ya go:

After catching bugs all night, she was gone the next morning. Tonight, she's back. Humbling, to say the least.

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