A Mississippi Garden Spider
I don’t like spiders. I never have. But, let me tell you something. You have NEVER seen spiders until you have seen a Mississippi Garden Spider. These things are so big that I would be afraid to leave any small pets running around loose!
People always want to know what that zig zag looking thing in the web is. Scientist call it a stabilimentum, and they don’t have a clue as to the purpose of it. Personally I think they use it for bungee jumping when no one is around or maybe for lassoing small calves that wandered away from their mother.
These spiders have long been known to construct stabilimentums in their webs but the function of these zig zag additions has so far eluded scientists. Although originally, studies in the 80’s seemed to point to the function of the stabilimentum as a way to provide a visual clue to prevent birds from blundering into webs, this hasn’t proven to be correct. Studies in 1999 also showed that webs with a stabilimentum actually caught 30% fewer insects when compared to spiders that did not spin a stabilimentum. Whether it’s a defensive mechanism or even an attraction to prey species remains a mystery. http://www.enaturalist.org/unit/197
If I hate spiders so much, you would think it would all be a simple matter of getting rid of this one, right? The problem is that like many of you, when I was a little girl I used to love to read Charlotte’s Web.
Every time I make the decision to go have a long talk with that dang spider to explain it is time for it to move on before I smack it with a shovel, I think of Charlotte and the spider gets another reprieve.
I have fully warned her that if she decides to have babies though that we will be having this discussion again!
In the meantime, I am very happy to have an excellent zoom feature on my camera so that I don’t have to get too close to her to take her picture. I figure I better have a trail of evidence of her existence in case the neighbors come around asking if I have seen their Black Angus calf around anywhere.
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