Monday, April 11, 2011

betty...

For the past few months I have been watching 2 Golden Orbs spiders (Nephila edulis) choose the spot just in between our back wall and the fence as their homes, build impressive webs and grow to very large sizes. I named them Betty and Sue.

Betty is the big girl on the left and Sue is the little one one the right.


They seemed very happy and thrived in their beautiful webs. Everyday when I opened the curtains on the lounge room windows I would peek out and check on the girls. Some mornings the web would be covered in dew and you could see every tiny little detail, and sometimes the sun would hit the webs just right and they would stand out with their beautiful golden thread.

They endured some sweltering hot days, and some freezing cold mornings and even when I would start getting worried about how strong a storm was getting, how wild the wind was and how hard the rain fell I would look out there and they'd still be there, with their legs held close to their bodies swaying around in the wind. Occasionally the storm was so rough it would knock parts of their webs down, but they'd always build it straight back up.

Well this morning I looked out to find only sue was left in her web, and Betty was no-where in sight. I felt a pang of sadness thinking she must have been gotten by one of the bats or maybe a bird, but then out of the corner of y eye I noticed a rather large yellow egg sack. I thought maybe this could be the work of Betty and sure enough there she was very slowly circling round and round putting the finishing touches on the sack. She looked so tired and was slipping every now and then. I watched her for a little while, and then we had to go into town.


If you look closely you can see Betty (the gray ball) at the top right corner of the sack...


And at the bottom...

When we came back from town I looked out the window to check how she was going and noticed she had finished and was resting and guarding her precious bundle.


Sue, left alone in her web with Betty and her bundle in the background (bottom right).


I'm not sure if I will be seeing much more of my Betty, but I feel so lucky to have watched her grow and thrive and leave me a beautiful ball that will hatch in 42-87 days and bring me more little Golden Orb spiders. And hopefully some of those will choose to build and grow where their mother had before them, in what I now call my spider garden.


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