Thursday, October 21, 2010

National Geographic Moment (Beware - Gruesome Material Below)

Yesterday I witnessed yet another National Geographic Moment.

This is not for the faint of heart. The spider webs were everywhere at Valley Forge and each one had a big fat orb weaver spider hanging head down, claws out, waiting for the vibration of a little critter that by mistake found himself caught in the web. I was taking photos of the spider in the first photo, when a vibration hit the web. A cousin of the grasshopper in the second photo had hopped his last hop. The spider quickly made his way down to the grasshopper and wrapped part of the web around his prey and then (this is the National Geographic Moment) - the little orange spigots that are found on the front of the spider's abdomen began to spout a thick web of silk (click photos three and four.) Using his claw, the spider guided the spout around and around the grasshopper. At the end, the spider bit into the grasshopper and rendered him powerless. (I didn't actually see this part, but since it's what's supposed to happen, I thought I would throw that in too.) The spider then walked back up the web, turned himself around with face down, and left the grasshopper entombed for a meal later in the day. Ugh.... it is a cruel world out there.