Saturday’s spinner

There was only one tree on the sloping meadow in Khandala where I went trigger happy with my camera. The Family sat under it during the shower while I stood in the rain taking photos of raindrops on roses or anything else in sight. When I joined her in the shelter, I noticed a spider web right above us: a perfect spiral dewed with raindrops. Just the kind that my nieces loved during their goth phases.

A spider waited at the center of the web, perfectly still. Its eight legs were paired into feelers touching four quadrants of the web. I wonder why they are paired up. Does it give the legs better distance resolution? Like the way our paired eyes give us a sense of depth?

Round the web

I stop at this spot in the garden once a day. I’m sure to see some butterflies here at any time. Yesterday I saw this strange spider web. A spider web has radial threads which aren’t sticky; these are the first threads that the spider lays down to make sure that the web will be stable. Once these anchors are in place, it moves crosswise along them laying down the sticky spiral thread. If you look carefully, you can see the fine lines of this spider’s radial and spiral architecture in the featured photo. But the spider was doing something weird here. While it moved spirally along the web, it seemed to lay down a much thicker spiral.

I haven’t seen anything like this before. I read later that when a spider wishes to move, sometimes she eats up the old web. Could she have been doing that? Maybe she lays down something to soften the thread before eating it? Videos on YouTube (a great reference site for the amateur naturalist) show that the dismantling of a web is very straightforward; the spider doesn’t have to season the silk before eating it. Nor was this the process of wrapping prey in silk. Could it be an invader trying to attack the original inhabitant? As I watched, I saw only one thing moving. I cursed myself for not carrying a magnifying lens with me. I went back again today to look. The web had disappeared. Maybe it was an invasion that I had seen.