Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Spiders ...

I am known as the mad spider lady.  I am neither mad (bwahhhhah) nor of the arachnid species.  But I do find them fascinating and allow them to live with me.  Not in a nice glass terrain, or special spider house, but wherever they like to call home.

I have black house spiders, or window spiders (Scientific Name: Badumna insignis)

They live in my windows and build thick webs with a tunnel.  Did you know that there are left handed and right handed spiders?  They will either make their webs in the left or right corners.  They are brilliant at snaring flies and bugs that dare enter the house.  Its natural pest control ... but of course I don't see my spiders as pests.

The black house spider who lives in each web is always a female.  She is bigger and more buxom than the puny male of the species. She has a velvety abdomen, and shiny legs.  He is paler and half her size and has a very brief life. He grows to manhood, finds a mate, courts her and then when the deed is over she kills him.  I have many corpses of amorous males under the window. 

She lays her little cotton ball of eggs and about 30 days later her little spiderlings emerge.  She is an excellent mother and very dexterous with all 8 of her legs.  They can live up to 2 years and never move from their lacy web.  I have grandmothers, mothers and daughters all living in the same window.

When people visit my house, I feel I have to explain my dirty, cobweb covered windows (they are restricted to 2 windows only and 1 light fitting above my desk so I can watch them closely).  Most visitors are horrified, but I set out to educate and normally win them over to at least come and have a closer look.  Kids especially are fascinated.

Then there are the crazy, messy daddy long legs Pholcus phalangioides, that stagger around like they are drunk and build messy, disorganised webs like they are still drunk.  They dont seem to be very houseproud or very good parents and I find that I evict them on a regular basis. 

There are a myriad of spiders that live outside, and I will introduce them on another blog.

So, the next time you see a spider and rush for your thong, just take a big breath and have a closer look ... she might be a friend of mine!

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