Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Spiderwebs of October

All over my neighborhood, the bushes are festooned with these flat spiderwebs:

If you get closer, you can see that each web features a tiny open tunnel, about 1/2 inch in diameter, leading down into the bush:

Can you see the small black opening in this spiderweb?

There's a light brown spider in the tunnel.  Sometimes it skitters away as you approach, but not always.  Today, in the rain, I was able to see one:  an elongated oval with pointed ends, about half an inch long, beigy-brown, with at least one dark stripe down the length of the body.  I was able to photograph one,  but it doesn't show up very clearly:

Does anyone know what kind of spider looks like this and builds this kind of web at this time of year?

The tunnel is structurally elegant, fragile yet functional.  I commend its reclusive creator and its goal in life, whatever that may be--presumably catching prey, digesting it, and using its nutritional value to lay eggs.   Whatever their goals, I wish the spiders success, especially now as the temperatures begin to fall.

Scientists say it's a mistake to attribute human characteristics to non-human creatures.  So I won't say the spiders are brave, because they're not, really--they just doing what they're programmed to do.  Still, there is a bravery to the spiders, their webs, and their vigilance within them.

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