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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Golden orb takes up residence

Our new pet is a giant arachnid, which has taken up residence out the back, growing and providing much entertainment for us, as we wonder whether it is the compost heap, closeby which is providing the food.  Actually, there are two, a female and a male, but the male is much smaller.  As far as our identifying skills go, it is a 'Golden Orb', of which the female are one of the larger of spider types, whilst the male is a hardly visible tiny specimen.  
They are not called golden orbs because of their own skin, but because of the tough webs they spin. Can you make them out in the photo? The silk of a golden orb spider is somewhat prized - one visitor told me, as we showed off our new pet.  Apparently it was hoped at one stage that the silk of a golden orb could be used to make clothing.  Another friend told me that it was so tough it has been used in experiments in making bullet proof armour!  

Also, apparently these orbs are from Queensland, so it is a migrant to our state and perhaps the warm weather have encouraged it so far.

Whatever the case, we are enjoying watching the growth of the spider, its web and nature at work - even in terms of a predator.  The kids too are fascinated, especially by the strength of the web, which you can twang like a guitar without any sound effects.  Who was it who said that without the predator, there is no balance in nature?  
Anyway, this 'little' predator has made our little courtyard its new home, giving us something more than just the greenery to look for through the window in the mornings.    

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