18 September 2006

Spider Chronicles: Episode IV

So I am happy to report that we have not one but two resident arachnids at the new house. I am also happy to report that neither one has taken up residence in any of our windows. Both have located their webs in rather more conventional spots. Well, at least one has.

At right and below are front and side-view shots of the larger one, which I'm betting, based on her size, is a female. She has affectionately been dubbed by Ms. Four as "the new Jack" and has a very nice web set up between our garage and the path into the backyard. The location, as far as people are concerned, may not be ideal, since one must walk past it in order to visit the backyard. If one is not overly fond of spiders, the proximity could be distressing. In addition, I suppose there is also the possibility that the new Jack could relocate her web across the path into the backyard. However, based on last year's observations of the old Jack, I think we're safe - the old Jack had her web in exactly the same spot for several months.

At right is a shot of the other Jack. Because it's smaller than the new Jack, my money is on this one being a male. (We'll just have to wait and see who makes an egg sac.) As you can see, this one has chosen a decidedly less conventional spot for its web - in the wheel well of The Husband's 1972 Toyota Landcruiser. In fact, this dude hitched a ride in this exact spot over to the new house from the old one, which is pretty impressive and reinforces my impression that it's male (Would a female in her right mind be into joyriding? I think not).

So I have a male and a female practically within spitting distance of each other. What are the chances of getting a shot of spider sex? I actually witnessed spider sex at the old house. I think. Hard to be sure, but here's the story: Some other non-Jack species of spider had set up a web in the bathroom window and one day I watched as a very small spider approached the web. It (He?) delicately wiggled some of the web threads to get the attention, I assume, of the web's owner. She sort of ignored it at first, then all of a sudden, sped up to where the first spider was and sort of pounced on him. Then they ... well, sat very close to each other for a couple of minutes and then she went back to the center of her web as if nothing had happened and the first spider took off. I suppose they might just have been visiting. Who knows. Anyways, if I am lucky enough to digitally capture some spider porn, I'll be sure to post it.

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