Spider Dilemma, My

SpiderWebB:W

I wanted desperately to write a blog about Daddy-Long-Leg spiders.  But, there was a technical problem that I could not solve.  It’s not that there is a shortage of this species here in the North Country.  Indeed, just the opposite is true.  They are everywhere.  But try to get a photo of one…it’s not impossible, just very difficult.  Unless you own a Nikon DSLR with an 900:1 digital zoom lens, you’re out of luck.  The long legs are not really the issue, it’s the rest of the thing that’s problematic.  The Daddy-Long-Legs has a body the size of a match head, you know, those paper matches that they used to give away in bars.  It’s like trying to get a good photo of a fly on the fight deck of the USS Bonhomme Richard.

I found a Daddy-Long-Leg spider on the railing of our deck and took this photo:

Daddy

The gray arrow accurately points out the location of the Daddy-Long-Legs.  See it?

I realized that photo wasn’t going to make much of a blog, really.  I mean, I can hardly see the arrow much less the spider.

That was end of that idea…for awhile, anyway.

This morning I decided to brush off the R-pod in preparation for our trip to Florida in October.  There were nests and webs everywhere.  But after giving the camper a good cleaning, I noticed something near the front, where the hitch and propane tanks are located.  It was a spider web.  But this time, the spider was big enough to photograph.

Rushing back into the house, I try to find my iPhone 5 and snap a few images. I reached for my Nikon DSLR, but remembered that I had taken the chip out because it had other photos I needed for another blog.  I tried finding my CoolPix, but realized we had put in one of our suitcases for our recent trip to Ireland.  My mini-iPad was not that good because you had to fiddle with the touch screen in order to “zoom” in.  I settled on my iPhone 5 and even though I had to spread my fingers on the touch screen, decided that I could get the photo I wanted.  Now, I had something to blog about.

SpiderNext step was to identify the spider.  I can’t post something about a spider and keep calling it “spider”.  I had to find out what kind of spider it is.  I hurry back inside the house and look over my collection of Peterson Field Guides.  I don’t have one on spiders, only insects.  They’re not the same.  They are scientifically classified as being wholly separate.  So, I Google “spider” and find a quick identification key intended for the amateur naturalist.  [Notice I didn’t use the term “naturist”–those are the people who run around naked.]

I set to work trying to find out the species.  This was not easy because the spider in question hangs upside-down near the center of its web.  Not only that, but its underside was facing me and it’s identifying marks were on its back.  I pondered this for a few minutes before arriving at a solution.  I needed a mirror to see the top of the spider.  So, I rushed back inside the house and found my wife’s make-up mirror.  I ran back outside and carefully slid the reflecting surface (mirror) under and beneath the web.  I ran back into the house to replace the mirror.  It was too dark to get a good view, but I narrowed it down to three possibilities;

  • The Orb Weaver (Araneus spp)
  • The Cross Spider (Araneus diadematus)
  • The Shamrock Spider (Araneus trifolium)

It should go without saying that we’re talking about the genus Arachnids.  We all know that.  I also know that fully 75% of the human population are intimidated by spiders (only a fraction have full-blown Arachnophobia).  I’m in that 75% population cluster.  If you want to understand my relationship with spiders in more detail, order the 1958 version of The Fly on Netflix.

But all this left me with another and more complex dilemma.  I don’t especially like spiders, but I am aware that they eat mosquitoes, which I like even less.  So, do I whisk away the aforementioned spider so I won’t feel threatened each time I hitch the trailer to the car?  Or, do I let the mosquito-munching spider live?  That leads to another problem.  Do I transport this Arachnid to Florida?  What if it’s considered an alien species down there?  What if I am Person Zero who starts an Ecological Problem, a situation second only to the Rapture?

Life is not easy up here in the North Country.

BiggerSpider

[This is as close as I get.]

 

 

 

 

Floccinaucinihilipilification Or Not

empty-bench-autumn-park-white-sunny-42232130

On a day last week when the sky took on a strange hue of Cerulean Frost mixed with patches of Brandeis Blue that hung, ever so delicately, over hills of Bulgarian Rose and Caput Mortuum, I happened to be having a chat with my octogenarian friend…a retired oceanographer.

“I am full of vicissitudes today,” she said, as she slipped her walker to the side of the park bench. “My tintinnabulation has increased a thousandfold.”

“Well, I guess it’s all hands on the deck for you, my friend,” I said. “Just don’t tip the bucket.”

“Not only that,” she said with trepidation, “I am suffering once more with a bad case of Helminthophobia.”

“Now, that’s one for the books,” I replied. “Have you seen a specialist?”

“Oh, heavens, no,” she said stifling a sneeze with her forefinger beneath her proboscis.  “He would have to examine me and I have had Gymnophobia for years.”

[I thought to myself that after my recent bout with Eurotophobia and the resulting Defecaloesiophobia, I totally understood.]

“Nothing like airing your dirty laundry,” I said. “I guess all bets are off.”

“If it wasn’t for my awful Eremophobia, I’d dump my old man,” she said with alacrity.

“Even though he’s as horny as a three-balled tomcat?” I said.

“Hey, if you ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies,” she said with a sniffle.

“Now that you mention it,” I said as I shifted on the bench, “last month I suffered greatly with a case of Pteronophobia and along with that came a flare-up of my Proctophobia.”

“Psaw,” she replied, “at the end of the day that was as plain as the nose on your face.”

I looked at the sun dipping below the roiling hilltops.

“It’s getting late,” I said, thinking of my constant Myctophobia. “Let me walk you home.”

“I’m all ears,” she said, “and I’m thirsty.”

“Good.  Let’s go get a garlic milkshake,” I said.

“Oh, you youngsters are all talk and no action,” she said with a wink.

As we stood up (it took me 14 minutes to straighten my knees), a young couple took our places.  They immediately began kissing like there was no tomorrow.

“Get a room,” I said, over my shoulder, as we walked away.