Lurking in the Corner.


Perhaps the most common human interaction with spiders is how we run headlong into their webs. This happens most often with orb webs, as (obviously) a thin two-dimensional web spread across an empty space is most likely to go unnoticed even when we’re looking straight at it.

Sometimes, the saving grace is that you at least spot the spider before you spot the web. Not always, though.

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Some orb web spiders like building webs (why they love to build them at the same level as our heads is beyond me,) and then hiding at one corner of it. You won’t notice it on the first pass, but on one of the leaves anchored to the web is a silk sheath, and you just might find something hiding behind it.

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These spiders can be quite reluctant to see the light of day, but if you take a small stick or a blade of grass and slip it into the spider’s sanctuary, it jumps out and scrurries to a second hiding space – usually under another of the leaves attached to the web.

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This spider is an Araneus mitificus: also known as a Kidney Garden Spider. I’ve come across them a couple of times, and my guess is that the specimen you see above is gravid. They have a beautiful erm… posterior, with large variations in their marking from spider to spider. The underbelly is a brilliant, almost iridiscent green.

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The next time you see a large, empty orb web, try looking at everything that the web connects to. You’ll find a spider hiding somewhere. And this critter is worth taking the time to find.

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Lurking in the Corner.

When in Rome.


Hey folks. Guess who’s back in Wayanad again? In the spirit of visiting the land of paddy and banana and coffee, I thought I’d put up photos of a spider that I’d spotted here during my last visit.

When you’re in a place as fecund as Wayanad, you need to have a care on where you step, what you touch, and how you walk through. There I was, trying to lean against a column, only to find that there was a spider I brushed against, which promptly fell to the floor.

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Ornamental Tree-Trunk Spiders or Coin Spiders belong to the genus Herennia. Herennia multipuncta is the most prolific of them, and the only one not restricted to islands.

Building tiny webs, they happily sit in silken cups that they fashion for themselves. Not know too much about how they behave, I happily stuck my camera under their heads – only to figure out that their favourite flight response is to jump squarely down at the sign of the slightest trouble. :-/ Unless it’s a jumping spider, I’m still not comfortable having spiders jumping onto me. 🙂

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Note that the carapace patterns are not yet fully developed in the juvenile spiders above. They were not aggressive, just kinda goofy and kinda flighty. Like so many other spiders.

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Good night, y’all. And a hat-tip to Joseph KH Koh’s excellent guide to Singaporean spiders.

When in Rome.

It’s a Gender Equality thing.


I’m sure most of you would’ve read or heard about the beastly female spiders that devour their puny male mates after copulation, biting their heads off soon after they erm, serve their biological imperative.

While I can’t deny that it is – generally speaking – true, things aren’t quite as bad as that. Many male spiders survive at least 2-3 encounters with females. 🙂

Many male spiders are still tiny little squirts though – they make a great case study of sexual dimorphism in nature. The male Argiope spider is barely a quarter of the female’s size. And while the female is strikingly colourful, the male is a dull, featureless brown. Come mating season, they usually build secondary webs close to a female’s much larger, better web… and you know, just hang around.

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There’s no real punchline to this post, all that text was just build-up to what I thought was a pretty neat picture. 🙂 Thassal for today.

Continue reading “It’s a Gender Equality thing.”

It’s a Gender Equality thing.

Back to them spiders.


Not since May have two entire weeks gone by with not a hint of a spider or three. High time I did something about it.

Today’s spider is a rather curiously shaped fellow who is called the Spiny orb-weaver from genus Gasteracantha. As the name suggests, this spider builds large two-dimensional orb webs like the Argiope spiders and many ohers. I’m not quite sure why, but for some reason they seem to build these webs rather close to Argiope webs. Often I’ve found them but a foot or so away, with the plane of the web sometimes almost normal to that of the Argiope’s.

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Anyhou, tiny as they may be, they’re still quite colourful and I was lucky enough to catch this one with some backlighting.

Continue reading “Back to them spiders.”

Back to them spiders.

And God said, Let there be legs.


and there were legs. (Arachnogenesis 1:3)

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Yesterday I’d posted about an Argiope spider that had lost two of its legs in a skirmish that is all to frequently replicated in nature, regardless of scale.

And lo! I find the same spider again after 4 days, to see that it has regrown them.

Online searches showed me that limb regeneration is usually only possible among juvenile spiders, the notable exception to this being tarantulas. This was certainly not a fully mature Argiope, still having to go through a few molting stages to get there.

What’s fascinating is that the legs took but 4 days to develop that much. I wish I’d caught the complete cycle of regeneration. Just when you think that you know everything there is to know about spiders, boom. They hit you on the head again with some insane badassery.

Spiders recycle junk to build decoys, build webs of gold, cleverly use leaves as both housing and as traps, use stupidly simple or ingenuous escape techniquestravel invisible pathways and look as cute as kittens. Add regeneration of limbs to that list.

Bloody hell.

Continue reading “And God said, Let there be legs.”

And God said, Let there be legs.

Six legs does not an insect make.


Some battles end in defeat, and sometimes that defeat can be costly. Lions chasing bisons can get gored and wild dogs that hunt stags may lose an attacker even in eventual victory.

Spiders that go after prey that are too nasty for them can end up in a bad way.

28654959-Lame_Argiope_128654955-Lame_Argiope_2This Argiope “cross” spider is left hanging with only 6 feet, after what must’ve been a quick yet brutal encounter. At any rate, it lives.

Continue reading “Six legs does not an insect make.”

Six legs does not an insect make.