Monday, January 17, 2011

Aerobatic Arachnids

With all the rain we have had over the past few months insect numbers have increased dramatically.
A large swamp that connects to a lake system nearby has been supplying its fair share of mosquitoes and sandflies.
Its no wonder that I have such appreciation of spiders.
This little orb weaver is one of many that has made its residence on my veranda.  

As a child I watched with endless fascination as they formed their webs with such precision and balance, even when gusts of wind would blow them on a tangent temporarily.

Hooks on the hindmost legs help place the web as it is drawn from the spinnerets.

One of the most rewarding aspects of nature is that, no matter how often you have seen something, a new insight can be gleaned. Often when you least expect it. 

 The photo below is a crop of the one above and shows something unusual.
There seems to be a second thread of silk merging with the first to form the strand.
Spiders often have two types of spinnerets.
One is for the web and is fine and strong, the other is for encasing prey and is multi- threaded.
A perfect example is the Saint Andrews Cross.
I was not aware that multiple spinnerets were used for web production, though a number of shots taken indicate two at least.
Some shots of active web spinning spinnerets may prove an enlightening continuation of a study found pleasurable for the past 40 years.

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