Saturday, October 22, 2005

Halloween's comin' up, so I thought I'd show some photos of my favorite frightening creepy crawling creatures: spiders. There are over 30,000 known species of spiders and some believe that's only 20% of what's really out there. You can find these guys everywhere on the planet. Most are harmless to humans. So when I spot a spider, (despite what I've said in previous posts) I don't freak out, I just whip out my camera.

The arachnid on the left was in my home, a live-in insect exterminator. The wooden door isn't really that orange; I played with the hues and saturation to get the best visuals. Plus it fits the Halloween theme, no? Ditto for the yellows and browns on the right -- I was on a friend's porch when a huge beetle wafted past us and a second later was stuck in this spider's web, along with leaves and dust. The little predator finally hit the jackpot with this prey, but it had to work to keep it. The bug was struggling to get free, and the spider kept hog-tying its legs. Each time the strong insect broke free of its silk bonds, the spider had already wrapped up two other legs. Nothing like watching a little animal kingdom bondage for entertainment on a lazy afternoon.
doorspder hogtdbtl

On the same porch was this nasty thing. Possibly the ugliest spider I've ever seen (a friend said it looked like one of those face-hugging creatures from Alien) but with a spectacular web, shown here from four different angles. I find it challenging to capture a webslinger and its spindly threads in a photo, so I was pleased these came out so well.
WVwebundrnth WVwebtreeWVwebprch WVwebside

Not all spiders create webs, but they all make and use silk. It's lighter and more elastic than nearly any rubber or plastic, yet proportionally stronger than any steel fiber. That's how this creature (an orb spider, I believe), manages to seemingly float in space outside my front door. Or when the wind blew a bug into the web, the spider could get to work on its meal while the gusts continued to toss its home around like a sail. The web was over four feet tall, stretched between two palm tree fronds. Click on each word here to see more, but I'm guessing you're sufficiently creeped out by now. Happy Halloween.
cuspdr sailspdr


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