Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Baby Spiders

Remember our lovely garden spider last summer? Remember the sad part - the information I found on the BBC web site, that after laying her eggs, the spider keeps watch over them, unable to hunt, and then dies in the autumn. Well, we didn't actually see our garden spider die, but I've been looking in the pots out the back, where she used to be, and there was definitely no sign of her.

Now, to the happy ending! This morning, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a yellow and brown mass, hanging from an old geranium in one of our pots. I thought it might be our spider. But, no, it's baby spiders - probably about a hundred of them. Tiny little dots. Most of them were not moving, but then I saw one at the edge of the nest, happily walking along.

And this afternoon, as the day got hotter, we witnessed the spiderlings' flight! Just like in Charlotte's Web, the baby spiders are walking to the edge of the web, and then launch themselves into the air, casting a long, fine, thread that catches the wind. Some of them are not going far, landing in a pot nearby, or my hand. Others look like they're flying up into the sky, I guess catching an updraft that will take them god knows where. I had never seen this in my life, except in Charlotte's Web, and I thought it was just something made up for the movie. But there you go - one of the small miracles of life! And another episode in the Wildlife of South Dublin.

Brendan took some lovely pictures, which I'm sure you'll enjoy. Click on the first picture to see it in full detail.

PS: I have really no idea if these little guys are our garden spider's babies. They could be any spider for all I know. But I do hope that a few of them at least will make it to adulthood and will choose to nest in our garden.

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