Twice I have noticed that when I disturb the web, the web suddenly
starts vibrating at perhap 5 - 10 Hz (speculation). The web and Laura then
instantaneously stop vibrating. It occured to me that perhaps this
is a defensive response - that of creating a blurred image seen by
a hunter (or me). When the web is perturbed in a hostile
manner (i.e. different from motion induced by wind etc) then the
juvenile banana spider ( Naphils clavipes) will start a lateral
body oscillation at a very high frequency while keeping her legs firmly
attached to the web. In addition, she translates her thorax periodically
from left to right - shifting the blurred image.
Here I am - very small, about 1 cm in length and about 1-2 mm in diameter.
In fact, I am so small that many curious eyes will not find me - which
is particularly good when the curious eyes are attached to a mouth that
wants to eat me. Frank finds it impossible to focus on me with his
camera, using the manual focus which he has yet to master. As I grow,
the focus problem will diminish, but for now, it is a contest - can he
master the art of focus before I grow sufficiently large to resolve it
with my size?
Watch the growing up of Laura: June 3, 2004
Here she is, a week later - and her spinnerette is much more prominant than
before. May 31 on the left, Jun 1 on the right.
Her legs are beginning to change to the two-tone yellow/brown
pattern seen on adults. Her coloration on the ventral side is similar to
before and its impossible to crawl behind her web and observe her dorsal side.
Comparing this with the above photo - perhaps you can find more changes.
Laura catching and eating breakfast: June 5, 2004
This morning, Laura had repaired her web and then suddenly a small fly
collided with her web. She jumped to attention, rushed over to wrap
breakfast in some golden silk (left) and then marched back to her
central position for a tasty treat (right).
In her mouth is the hapless fly and in the lower right, you can
see a wrapped wasp, perhaps curing for dinner?
Laura's sister, Lumi resting in the attack position: June 24, 2004
(Lumi, may in fact be a male and misidentified by me)
Here you see Lumi - in the side and from the top. She has grown to about
5 mm. In the left photo, you can clearly see her web. There is a video
of her weaving here.
A new member of the family, it must be Alexandra: July 3, 2004. Laura
and Lumi are no longer in their webs. Either they have moved or something
has happened. Possibly Alex is also a male: compare with
from Wild Flowers and their associates
Note the maybe transparent head - with what inside? Her small brain that
directs weaving, web repairs and of course, hunting. Usually, this region is
white - so perhaps this is only a developmental phase. We shall wait and
watch and see if the coloration changes.