Archive for » December, 2013 «

SPIDER WOMAN

Remarkable diligence is shown by the large house spider (mother, I guess) in carrying its          personally-woven basket of eggs for the entire time taken for these to hatch. She probably starves the whole period of her babies’ extra corporeal gestation. Truly deserving of the epithet,    ‘Superwoman’.

Had spiders been into composing songs, they’d have had much fodder for paeans in praise of maternal love and sacrifice.

A spider mother was struggling, last morning, lugging its enormous basket of eggs. After some time, the emaciated creature appeared to have given up the effort and simply sat, out in the open, cuddling her precious pouch. (A conspicuously white egg-case wrapped protectively in a dark spider.) The exhausted mother was probably preparing to die, clasping the basket in which she was unwisely carrying all her eggs.

By the way, have you noticed how spiders curl up when they die? I have not as yet come upon a spread-eagled dead spider. I am no arachnologist, but I believe that spiders all curl up in a ball to die. (Like cockroaches probably do a last minute flip onto their backs, preferring to expire legs-up.)

The thousands of potential little ones and their mum were still around some hours later. No passing vertebrate had spotted the snack. And it appeared to me that mother was looking less limp. On closer examination, I found that devoted mother had opened her daintily woven case with those short appendages above its mouth and was snacking on her helpless babies. Should we conclude that spiders are infantivorous?  Or were my eyes tricking me?

One or two tiny ones were scurrying around in the vicinity but I was sure the mother had already gobbled most of the brood.

Gives a whole new slant to the term ‘baby-food’, does it not?