Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Predator and Prey

There is a writing spider, also known as Argiope aurantia, residing in our hoophouse amidst the cherry tomatoes.  It gets sizably bigger and more intimidating every week.  The web is now about two feet wide and my heart beats a little faster when I have to pick around it.  I even let out a small shriek today when, while gingerly picking around this large web, eyes glued to the spider, I stuck my hand into another web close by.  This spider must be a female because the males are smaller and have unassuming markings.  How fascinating that in the insect world this is sometimes the case where the males are the smaller, less showy ones.  Next to this writing spider's web, resting on a tomato leaf, is a smaller, dead spider, legs crumpled inward and looking shocked by its own death.  Did she kill it?  Lovers gone awry?    

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