Friday, October 22, 2010

Things I Thought I Knew But Didn't

 When I started this, there were some things I knew, or thought I knew, about spiders.

One of them was that spiders keep tidy webs, so if you brush away a messy, dusty web, you're not hurting anything.

I couldn't have been more wrong. Oh, the orb web spiders seem to fit this, more or less, but even they will cut corners. For the few days Belle was around, she tidied up her web every night and spun a new one, but Big Spider was not averse to re-using old anchor lines when she could, and once spun a shiny, new center while leaving the ragged outer edge untouched.

Other spiders are even less picky. The funnel web spiders have large, flat webs, perfect for catching the odd leaf or twig, and it doesn't seem to bother them in the least. Lady Lime has allowed a whole pile of debris to accumulate--just look at all those dead leaves!

Similarly, Legs, a cellar spider, was never troubled in the least by the odd bit of paper that got caught in her web, and her outdoor cousin Penelope, has allowed twigs, dog hair, and dried flowers to catch in her web without troubling overmuch about the housekeeping.

And as for the black widows! Milady's web was a shocking tangle of dog hair and debris, and it never did seem to occur to her that a little housekeeping might be in order.

It's not that they can't fix their webs. Treasure, a funnel web spider living below Lady Lime, recently had a huge rent in her web, probably caused when I was watering and shifting things around. She mended it quite tidily with some nice, new, smooth white silk. They just don't seem to care.

So much for my illusions or delusions.

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