Monday, October 16, 2006

Friends with Exoskeletons

When Megan and I were camping at Alum Creek, we had the fortune to run into some very cool invertebrate friends. The first guy we found, if it is a male at all (i have no idea how to tell the difference between a male and female spider) was quite striking. When I got back to the naturalist's hideaway, I realized that we had found a banded garden spider, or Argiope trifasciata. Isn't it stunning? Also, yay for digital camers with the superb ability to take close up pictures. Canon and I have teamed up for some truly great moments (with sarcasm).

The ventral side of the spider. Notice the spinnerets near the top of her abdomen. This anatomical area is where the spider generates silk.

Finally, the hungry spider snathes and entombs a wonderful meal. About all that is recognizable is this fly's two beady eyes.

Last but not least, I shot this small grasshopper on an evening primrose a mere arm's length from the spider's web. This again brought me back to my childhood, when Kevin Myers wood pluck fat and juicy "tobacco spitting" hoppers from my yew bushes and throw them into the garden spider's web. I was tempted to watch this green creature warm up in the hazy sunshine and see if he would make the unwise move of hopping into the web of death. Alas, he did not, I wasn't patient, and I he let me capture this image.


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