Friday, September 14, 2007

Our new house guest

We've got a golden silk orb weaver (commonly known as a banana spider) who's made her home on our house. Dan and I had one of these living outside our bedroom window when we lived in Florida, so we weren't freaked out when we spotted this lady spinning her complex yellow web along the rooftop. We know she's a female because the males are only about 1/5 the size of the females—and this spider is pretty big.

We've read that our spider, officially known as a Nephila clavipes, is a very skilled weaver and frequently renovates her circular web. The golden web is one of the strongest spider webs in the world. Thankfully the web here is up high and not where somebody will be ensnared by the silk (though if it were closer the kids could get a better view of her—I guess we'll have to wait for our binoculars to arrive). I'm trying to figure out how big her web is, because I've read they can be a few meters across. In the morning the sun shines from behind her so it's hard to see the web, which is why I took this picture in the cloudy afternoon. If you click on the photo you can see the web better, including some of its golden color.

Oh, and male orbs beware. For all his courting, the male orb stands a real chance of being eaten after mating. Apparently a male may actually leave a leg behind (no kidding!) to satisfy the female while he beats a hasty retreat.

Kinda makes you fellas appreciate being human, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Manic Mom said...

Sometimes I get the urge to chew off my husband's leg too! Just a creature of habit! Hahah