Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Spider Tale

Chapter 1

   Ok, you are going to think I'm a pure lunatic - I don't know, perhaps I am.  Maybe I'm strange, a nerd, weird-o, kooky.    Really, I'm pretty sane.  But what I am is a teacher(for real) a bit of a science geek, biologist, zoologist, entomologist, farm girl, country girl and critter lover.  That includes bugs, insects and arachnids.  Now, I will confess that I do not want said spiders crawling on me and I was known to let out a blood curdling screech many years ago when a tan spider the size of a watermelon - ok, maybe not that big- was crawling up my collar after a war with the weeds in the garden one summer.  I just find nature and all of it's buzzing, crawling, creepiness  and crowing animals, ah... interesting. And so that is  the lead in to my story, which has now evolved into two summers.
     So, last summer I find on my foyer floor a very large black hairy spider with green eyes and white markings.  She  had apparently hitched a ride on some beach towels drying on our front porch swing.  Enter my alter ego the entemologist me.  I grab a peanut butter jar and instantly she has a new home for the night.  My  intention was to research her a bit just to see what she was and educate the family on her lifestyle.   I really was a teacher for 14 years before I had my children so the teacher in me is constantly setting up rituals such as these to "teach" my three boys about the world.
     After very little research we found out that she was a female Daring Jumping Spider.  Jumping is the operative word here, remember that.   Later that evening we decided we had better try to feed her something.  That was a great excuse to catch the flies that the boys let in the house.  So the first fly gets nabbed and into the jar it goes.  Within seconds that spider pounced - hence the jumping part- on that fly and held on for dear life.  As it turns out they enjoy the feast and leave the carcass.  Many more flies and light buzzing moths followed that night.  Seeing this as the teachable moment, the next day I fixed up a nice habitat in one of our many aquariums meant for this purpose and in she went - for the rest of the summer.  Which meant we were on bug catching duty for a couple of months.  Here's an internet photo of a Daring Jumping Spider.  It's a better shot than any of those I took.


Daring Jumping Spider

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