Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 17, 2009 -- Another Arachnid

No, this is not turning into a Nat Geo blog -- we just haven't been anywhere to DO anything recently (though I believe golf has something stirred up for this weekend . . . . )

Anyway . . . . although Larry and golf keep "losing" their argiopes, they seem to keep an eye out for potential new visitors. On about October 13-14, Larry found a HUGE web in the back yard -- it stretched from the river birch tree to the ground and over to the patio, a span of about 15 feet. The web didn't cover all that area -- it was just in the center of the area for about a span of 3 feet, but the strands stretched that far. Never found the spider though, and the web didn't look like Ariadne's, Venus', or Emily's as it didn't have the center zigzag stabilizer - it just had a hole in the middle. And it was a very "disorganized" web -- but then it was pretty big to be very detailed. We had a lot of rain over this time period, and I think it was after midnight one night (Thursday, October 15) that Larry went outside looking for the spider and finally found her on the web, busily repairing and respinning the web. He tried to get pictures, but his camera wouldn't focus in the dark. The next night he went out with our old Sony video camera that has a light and filmed the spider again. Our spider expert advised us this is an Eriophora ravilla, a southern orb weaver, usually found in the tropics. Here's a picture of one (not ours, we didn't take this picture).

However, HERE is the video Larry shot. It's not all that good because we don't have professional night-time photography or video equipment. But it's clear enough to see this little lady. We didn't have time to name her before she blew away in a storm the next day and since then the temperature has dropped below freezing at the house (yes, fairly unusual for October in Atlanta), she's probably long gone. Don't know that we'll find any more this year . . . . :-(

(Now what is really neat about this video is that the spider drops and starts swinging on a strand and Larry is able to follow her [in the dark!] and track her as she swings, gets to the ground and moves along in the grass a little, then skitters back up the thread [or another one] -- he was really good at following her in the first place, even if the video is not totally in focus all the time. That he got this much action at all is very commendable, in my opinion.)

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