After my adventure last year with
Natasha (Nephila clavipes, banana
spider, golden silk spider) in our garden, a number of my colleagues
became infected with a new sort of spider curiosity. It seems
that we are finding orb weaving spiders everywhere we look. This year
several folks near my neighborhood found golden silk spiders in
their yard and invited me for a look and photos.
First (July 2003) there was Sandy who found that her back
yard was becoming a sort of hang
out for golden silk spiders. Then John (July, August 2003)
found some very interesting
social arrangements in his back yard, a beautiful (and large) female
with 3 male admirers. More recently (Oct 2003), a wonderful
golden silk spider appeared on the side of the Cannonboro Inn.
So I went to make some photos. To my
amazement, at Sandy's there were several couples -
male and female. What was interesting
what that in every case (3), the male was oriented perpendicular to the
female, as if not quite sure whether he could turn his back or not. In
one case, we saw the remains of a dinner spider. Similarly, at John's
the male's are all located above and more or less perpendicular to the
female. Here are the preliminary
images. From Sandy's the lady is Irina and her boy friend is Slava,
and from John's I found
Natalia and her male friends, Vadim, Vladimir and Vasili.
Couples of Nephila clavipes (or more)
Here is the ensemble (a trio) of Natalia, and her three boy friends,
Vadim, Vladimir and Vasili, as seen in John's bamboo patch,
demonstrating the overall orientation
of male(s) and the female. Only two males (Vadim and Vladimir)
are shown here. This photos were made
in very low light at 6pm, in John's bamboo patch. The exposure
was 1 sec at f 5.6 to get enough depth of field to see both Natalia
and one of the males (Vladimir).
The camera (Nikon 5700) was mounted on a tripod
and I used a 3 sec exposure delay to avoid vibration. Only the afternoon
breeze was working against me.
Shown below are two males, oriented both above and perpendicular
to the much larger female. Click on an image for the full presentation