Saturday, July 31, 2010

Little spider

The weather has been marvellous for the last two weeks or so. We take advantage of this; we have breakfast on the back porch or the courtyard, eat lunch and supper there, all surrounded by sunshine and flower pots (meticulously tended to by my wife), and generally enjoy the summer. In the late afternoon, we pull down a sunshade. About an hour before sunset we noticed a little spider's web, being illuminated by sunlight at just the right angle, which a little spider had put up after we had lowered the sunshade. It was suspended from that sunshade, and the downpipe from the roof. The web must have been constructed within an hour by that little spider. The sunlight passed through the web just like through a spectroscopic grating - which breaks up the light (like a prism) into its constituent colours, mostly reds, because the sun was so low in the sky. It was worth a picture.

The web stayed there for a couple of days (we took care not to disturb it when rolling up the sunshade); in all that time we saw a trace of only one "catch". It seems like a lot of work for that little spider to find only one meal in all that time. Then, the next morning, both web and spider had disappeared without a trace. Did the spider "eat up" the web, so that it could spin another one somewhere else?