Siting

July 16, 2010

Tags: Araneus, Epeira, Ancilotto

We awoke as legends this morning.

My younger daughter calls me to the front door, which she had opened in order to retrieve the newspaper. Smack dab framed by the doorway, silk stretching from porch post to ceiling lamp to the pot of fuchsia hanging on the wall, is an orb web. Fantastically regular in layout, almost completely translucent in the shade of the porch. Its maker rests dead center on the hub. I'm not photographer enough to capture it for posterity. I'm not systematist enough to guarantee it's an Araneus diadematus, or garden spider, but I'm pretty sure. (And I discover later in the morning, as I run along threads through that other Web, that just such a spider starred in the Italian documentary short Epeira Diadema--Epeira being the genus name before Araneus supplanted it--made by Alberto Ancilotto and nominated for an Oscar in 1952.)

Webs strung across entrances have supposedly saved numerous influential personages over the centuries. David trying to get beyond the reach of King Saul, Mohammed fleeing Mecca, and Joseph and Mary trying to save Jesus from King Herod's soldiers--legend has it that in each of these cases and others a cave served as refuge. A spider then hung an orb web across the entrance. Passing enemies: "Don't bother looking in there. That spider wouldn't have had time to make that web." If said enemies had been more interested in arachnology, they would have known orb weaving usually takes only about an hour.

This morning, my daughter and I looked less than legendary as we limboed under the web to get to the street. But this start to the day was so nice that our tiny new resident may as well have posted TERRIFIC in 48-point aciniform type.




Tags

"...a compelling introduction to evolution in action through the lens of spiders and their silks."

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