Saturday, March 24, 2012

Orb-weaver Spider

This spider is a member of a large family of spiders that build round-shaped webs.  The one pictured
here is pretty common in gardens, although this one was - where else - on my front porch.  Okay,
they're creepy - but they are also beautiful and helpful in that they eat other bugs, some of which lunch on humans.

One summer, long ago, we had one that had built a large nest in our garden.  For entertainment, we
would hunt down grasshoppers and other bugs and throw them into the web.  If it didn't actually see the insect, the vibrations from it's struggle would alert the orb-weaver to the presence of it's prey.  It was amazing to watch how quickly the spider would first, inject venom into the victim, then spin it into a cocoon, where it would leave it until it's innards had liquefied.  It would return later to consume the hapless meal.

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