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July 28, 2007: Mostly Nephila watching: Post molting and weaving

Here is a juvenile Nephila. You can see a small strand of drag line silk from her spinneret

jul 28 5342 young nephila

Focus on the golden decorations

jul 28 5383 nephila decorations

A male - just sort of waiting around for her to pass through several molting phases and then mating. The black spheres at then ends of his palps contain the sperm for mating

jul 28 5385 male nephila

Here is our lady in the center, a kleptoparasite (Argyrodes in the upper right, and the male in the lower right

jul 28 5389 male female nephila argyrodes

A closer view of the male - only about 5 mm in length

jul 28 5390 male nephila

Her dorsal side

jul 28 5504 nephila dorsal

Another view

jul 28 5513 nephila dorsal

I went for lunch and when I returned, here she was, just hanging by a single strand of drag line silk. I did not realize the had just molted. Above her is the exoskeleton she escaped from and below, she is waiting for her new exoskeleton to harden. So she is just blowing in the wind

jul 28 5555 post molt

Here she is starting to wake up a bit

jul 28 5562 post molt

Then she started to test her new legs.

jul 28 5571 molt recovery

all the while, blowing in the gentle breeze

jul 28 5576 post molt

She reaches up and starts the process of climbing over her old exoskeleton, then releases it and she returns to her web

jul 28 5589 post molt

Here she is, climbing over her old exoskeleton

jul 28 5602 remove old

Drying a bit more

jul 28 5603 remove debris

The climbs away from her molting station

jul 28 5605 post molt

and makes her way back to her web

jul 28 5608 molt escape

A full moon

jul 28 5676 moon

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C. Frank Starmer

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