07 October 2010 by Kate Turkington

It’s on the web…

My Irish husband used to say that I have no imagination because I’m not frightened of anything - which is a scary thought.

Not snakes, nor ghosts nor ghoulies, not horror movies, zombies or things that go bump in the night. And I’m certainly not scared of spiders. I can’t even spell arachn-a -o- phobia (?). I’m forever saving spiders from the bath because when I was growing up I read once in a Reader’s Digest (the height of sophisticated reading decades ago) that if all the spiders disappeared from the world so would the human race.

Our bush spiders can be quite beautiful. Take the Golden orb-web spider, for example. The gorgeous black-yellow-white female builds an amazing 3-dimensional web which can stretch up to 1m across. She then sits in the middle and waits for insects to fly in. It’s believed that the golden colour of the web deters birds and other large creatures from banging into it, which is good news to you if you have just spent hours of time and energy constructing your death-trap.

The male Golden-orb is hundreds of times smaller than his mate, and cowers cautiously on the edge of the web to avoid becoming her lunch or dinner. If he gets horny, he has to wait until his paramour has her mind on other things. Then he dashes in, deposits his pedipalps (spider sperm) into her aviducts and then scurries back to the web’s edge.

The female is not even a good mother. Once the spiderlings hatch, she ignores them until they are blown away at the end of a piece of silk in a process known as ‘ballooning’.

Live a good life if you believe in reincarnation. Otherwise you might end up as a male Golden orb-web spider.

Category: Adventure, Attractions

comments powered by Disqus