I actually field-study and research spiders as an insectologist, specifically insects of the arachnid family. My Native American animal totem is also the spider, hence my love and fascination for them.
This gives me an excuse to talk about them, hehe~
Spiders are actually very lovely and incredible little creatures. Due to their alien-like appearance and sometimes venomous nature-they are often very misunderstood creatures and unfortunately gain a bad rap for it. Thing is, their lifestyle, and customs are strongly reflected in many human customs as well. And can teach us many lessons about ourselves.
Spiders are incredibly sensitive creatures, for one their legs are powered by hydraulic fluids, these fluids allow spiders the ability to sense tremors in the ground. Most spiders, even on webs, will notice a human being approaching them from-in their own perspective and size-something akin to 'miles away.' Which if you imagine is not only incredible, but quite terrifying for something usually the size of a quarter or larger. Another fascinating ability spiders hold is that small hairs on their body and receptors in them allow them to sense the heat and electromagnetic field given off by humans, animals and insects alike. despite what some say, the mass majority of spider species are very passive creatures, and would rather run than actually bite us. Many performing 'dry bites,' in an attempt to save their venom for meals as venom is expensive to produce along with spiders webbings which is taxing on their metabolism. The Western, Southern and European Black Widow is especially known for this.
Things get very interesting when you get into the spiritual side of spiders and their representation in various beliefs. There are so many beliefs that represent spiders, From Vedic, Hinduism, African Tribal Practices and Native American beliefs to even Ancient Greece and more. Many share some strong correlations and they go as follows: Feminine energy, creativity, sensitivity and even a reflection of the creator and the perception of reality. Often they are perceived as messengers as well, and that when seen is a cue for us to look inward and reflect on ourselves and the things around us.
“Imagine a multidimensional spider’s web
in the early morning covered with dew drops.
And every dew drop contains the reflection
of all the other dew drops.
—And so ad infinitum.
That is the Buddhist conception of the universe in an image.
”— Alan Watts, Following The Middle Way
BTW, from the picture you gave us, and from what I can tell from how tiny it is lol, that there is most likely an Orb weaver Spider~ they get rather large but are known for their passive demeanor and beautiful web structures. They also have a great sense of life-goals:
“Build something beautiful, and then relax.”
As they often build their webs, and then wait in the center all day for something to fly into it. Some call it lazy, but I think they are just taking advantage of their free time. If you ever get a chance to observe one build a web, which is very uncommon, do so. It’s absolutely fascinating and beautiful to watch an orb weaver build her web.
Here’s some random trivia about my favorite little insects!
Widow Spiders and Sexual Cannibalism~
Despite what many think about Black Widow Spiders, the act of sexual cannibalism or sacrificial cannibalism between widow spiders is incredibly rare. Many of the species in fact engages in this so rarely that it is difficult for scientist to recreate these events in live-study and even harder to find happening naturally in the wild. As said, when this does happen, it is not like the female is just eating the male without his consent: for one, male spiders often only reproduce once in their lifetimes. This is due to the fact that they actually break off the small protrusions that act as their ‘penises’ into the female to ensure fertilization-essentially turning them into eunuchs after reproduction. These spiders will often times ‘summersault,’ into the females fangs, encouraging her to eat them. So that her chances of producing his young healthily increases. This sacrifice is then reflected in the mother, who often, after her children hatch, will allow them to eat her in return. This ultimate act of sacrifice allows the children to enter the world with a metabolic advantage over other competing species and younglings. Essentially, the mother takes on the father’s essence, and the children take on their parents’ through devouring her. As you can see spiders are selfless parents, willing to give EVERYTHING for their children.
Spider Aggression, Biting, and Venom~
Another misconception about spiders is often the strength of their venom, how much they bite, and how dangerous it is. The black widow, the brown recluse and some others are certainly potent enough to send you to hospital to have a rather bad day. But they are also incredibly overblown due to hysteria in terms of the venoms and how people react to the media. For children and the elderly, the bites from these species can be somewhat of a worry. However, the cases often leading to death is truly due to the person being allergic to the venom and not the venom itself being deadly. This regard is actually the same as bees and ironically bees kill far more people per year than spiders due. In deaths due to spider bites have fallen to such a low that it almost incredible really when you look at other things that take us out of the game. In retrospect, the black widow is still a spider you don’t want biting you, but the funny thing is, the black widow and brown recluse would rather not. These spiders often very rarely envenom their attackers, or the unwary human who put pinched them when putting on clothes they were hiding in or the shoe you slipped on where they were finding warmth. They are the very few spiders who will ‘dry bite,’ instead choosing to simply poke you but not envenom as even spiders realize it’s just a bad idea to do so. Also, the brown recluse isn’t as evil as people make it out to be, the venom does have a chance of causing necrosis-but this is also rare and it is rarely deadly. They are actually very shy creatures and rarely show themselves to humans. There have been cases where there can be 200-500 species inhabiting a home and no one will run into them for almost 7 years!
The Tactile Strength of Spider Webs~
If there is one thing about spider webs, they are super strong! Black Widow silk has the tensile strength of steel! In fact, they were tempted in using it for bullet-proof weaving and even a form of organic wound-coverings in the military~ But if you think that’s incredible, look no further than the nephila genus arachnids known as the “The Golden Silk Weavers.” These spiders have some of the strongest webs known to the arachnid family, with strengths so incredible, they rival high-quality silks and get this, are used for clothing. They are known for a golden tinge that was used to create priceless garments some years back. And are also even being considered for human tissue engineering. And if you’re hungry can be thrown into a lake to catch fish as form of fishing net. These webs are strong enough to snatch a bird straight out the sky, so you might not want to walk into one. Also note, these suckers get large, about the size of your hand or larger, so they are quite the sight to behold.
If you ever get a chance, look up The Peacock Spider, these guys are so adorable, and they dance to attract mates!
The Mysterious Stonehenge Spider
This rare and also rather newly discovered spider builds webs that resemble the stonehenge. Its very fascinating and the reason they do it is currently not very known to insectologist.
Thank you for giving me a chance to go on a tangent about my favorite little critters. If you would ever like to know more, just ask c: