“Come meet the new member of the family.” Jean said, as I stepped into her house.
She led me to the garden where she proudly introduced me to Alice; a Golden orb spider, of magnificent proportions. I looked at my friend in surprise, she is not fond of creepy crawlies. But Alice had won her over.
“I have been watching her for days, she is incredible!” Jean enthused, and so for two days I joined her in spider watching. But then, on day three, we noticed that Alice was looking weak, her web broken down. “Is she dying?” Jean asked fearfully. I had no reply, but watched in dismay as Alice lost her grip on the drain pipe and hung helplessly upside down, held only by her golden thread. Then we noticed another spider, tiny in comparison, riding on her back. What was going on?
I sought the answer on the web, the worldwide one, and there discovered that Alice was not dying, but moulting. The tiny spider on her back was her man…a devious little fellow. He was waiting for Alice to get naked, soft and helpless, so that he could perform his manly duty, without the risk of turning into a light after dinner snack. The male Golden orb spider is a man so devoted to furthering the orb spider population that he leaves his male organs behind in the female, to act as a plug, so that no other male can take advantage of his woman. A rather extreme action that causes the little guy to become very aggressive, fighting off all other comers…well what would you do?
Early the next morning Alice was resplendent in her brand new finery, and understandably was a little peeved at being photographed by me throughout her striptease, so she disappeared to a more private branch of the passion fruit tree. Gingerly I retrieving her cast-off gear, I carefully set the legs, and recreated her abdomen, she holds onto that part. Some days later I found a tiny sundried gecko in ‘the house on the hill’, and so the small drama of ‘The ghost of Alice and the golden gecko’ came into being.
A further bit of information: a tapestry woven from the thread of the Golden orb spider exists, it is said to be exquisite. This miraculous thread is stronger than the strongest equivalent thread that we can manufacture, and this magnificent creature effortlessly creates it out of water!