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Big Spider News! (Not a Big Spider, but Big News About a Small Spider) - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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Big Spider News! (Not a Big Spider, but Big News About a Small Spider) [Jun. 11th, 2015|05:13 am]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |emigrate: babe]

Early morning, sitting on the porch with the spiders.

I sent some photos of Emily and George to Dr. Jerome Rovner from the American Arachnological Association and he wrote back that I had mis-identified her as a branch-tip spider.

Emily is a hackled orbweaver, specifically Uloborus glomosus the featherlegged orbweaver. Which sounds like the name of a sword from Tolkien:

Elrond looked up, his brow furrowed "This blade the runes name Uloborus glomosus the featherlegged orbweaver. Keep it well."

"I shall wear this with honor!" replied Thorin.



I have learned some really interesting things -- specifically that Uloborus is the only family of non-venomous spiders -- Emily and George have no venom glands -- they kill their prey rather by constriction, wrapping it up tightly in silk. And also that the cribellate spiders, of which Emily is one, are what is know as "hackled web spiders" -- their silk is not sticky, may be the reason why her web is a total mess and not some fancy geometric pattern -- it's more of a net than a tar pit. When something flies into it, it gets tangled, not stuck, and she has to leap on it and wrap it up before it escapes (this crazy procedure I was lucky enough to see a few days ago.) There's also some amazing science-stuff that I've read about the hackled web silk that I'll post later.

Also, another entemologist known as Dr. Bug wrote to tell me that as Uloborids provide parental care, including the male, and the big news is that George and Emily will move into a web together once the spiderlings appear and raise them together!

I'm not sure why the thought of a two parent household fills me with joy -- probably mostly because I like the idea that George isn't a deadbeat, even if he's useless at catching flies. I also like the thought that tiny little babies aren't left alone in the world to be eaten, but that their parents look out for them.

(Also, since people seemed concerned in the comments, Dr. Bug said that apart from Black Widows, female spiders do not eat their mates, and among Black Widows, it rarely happens outside of a laboratory.)






I am defending you, my people! From the fly that tried to get into the house!
Clickenzee to embiggen the joy of Emily the Fierce, door soldier to people!










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Comments:
[User Picture]From: howlokitty
2015-06-11 02:50 pm (UTC)
Glad to know she and the babies will be so safe and cozy!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-11 03:23 pm (UTC)
Emily is happy.
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[User Picture]From: coffeeem
2015-06-11 03:23 pm (UTC)
Aha! That explains why she's such a good packer. I'd hire her if I ever have to move again. (Just to pack the really small things, you understand.)
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-11 03:31 pm (UTC)
yes, if it's smaller than a lentil bean, she'd be perfect!
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[User Picture]From: smithla8
2015-06-11 03:44 pm (UTC)

An American Family

Delightful photo and very good news. Emily and Georg have become my favorite reality-celebrities since I refuse to watch reality television. I can't wait to see the kids.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-11 05:38 pm (UTC)

Re: An American Family

I know! I have no idea what to expect, however, this variety of spider is studied a lot in laboratories, so I've seen many science papers about them. Excited to start reading.
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[User Picture]From: livejournal
2015-06-11 04:31 pm (UTC)
Hello! Your entry got to top-25 of the most popular entries in LiveJournal!
Learn more about LiveJournal Ratings in FAQ.
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[User Picture]From: pameladean
2015-06-11 08:31 pm (UTC)
Best stripy legs ever!

I am delighted with the updated information and hope you will be able to witness the hatching of the offspring.

P.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-16 11:41 pm (UTC)
indeed! i need to figure out if they're going to hatch this year or if the eggs are going to winter. literally, i have no idea every morning if i'm going to be a grandfather 500x over or not.
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[User Picture]From: pameladean
2015-06-17 08:09 pm (UTC)
Seriously! Mammalian reproduction has its complications, but it's nothing compared to this.

P.
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[User Picture]From: framlingem
2015-06-11 08:48 pm (UTC)
I'm really enjoying these Emily posts, not least because my name is also Emily, and I like the idea that someone may google me and discover that I have no venom glands.
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[User Picture]From: ratphooey
2015-06-11 10:08 pm (UTC)
Dr. Bug. Of course.
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[User Picture]From: moon_chylde
2015-06-11 11:23 pm (UTC)
LOVE this shot!
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[User Picture]From: caudelac
2015-06-12 01:57 am (UTC)
She is a goddamn hero.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-06-16 11:41 pm (UTC)
\m/
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[User Picture]From: ladycelia
2015-06-12 03:10 pm (UTC)
I am loving your spider shots.
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