Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spider love

It's been nearly eleven years since I moved into this house and over those years I have found redback spiders in a number of places: tucked into grooves in door frames, peeping coyly out from drainpipes, neatly hidden in the inside-underside moulding of plastic garden chairs. (!)

So you'd think, given what a haven my place seems to be for them and given the way that their amazing beauty and elegance lures me close enough often enough to make it very likely that one day I will get bitten on the nose and die a horrible death, that I would know a bit more about their habits, personalities and tastes. But no. None of the following, which I have just found at a perfectly respectable news site, has ever been visible from where I was standing:
It's long been known that the female redback who is roughly twice the size of her male counterpart, regularly eats a number of her male courtiers, although exactly what determines who gets eaten has been unclear.

New Canadian research suggests that it depends on whether the female has been satisfied by the duration of the stimulatory courtship, which entails the male vibrating the female's web for approximately 100 minutes.

I'm not sayin' nothin'.


Mindy said...

Heh. I'm sorry mister that was only 99 minutes and 58 seconds. I don't need to know your name, I'm calling you dinner.

WV: twingsh - the sound a male spider makes when trying not to be eaten and failing.

Anonymous said...

See Lynne Kelly SPIDERS: LEARNING TO LOVE THEM for perhaps more than you ever wanted to know about them (and I haven't really learnt to love them) though since moving to rural climes, I have learnt not to scream when encountering a large huntsman, and to only demand their (live) removal, by someone else, when they are actually in the bedroom. But I've never seen the twanging activitiy either - though redbacks also plentiful. Around here we have phascogales (Tuans) - cute little carnivorous possum-like things with a distinctive tail with a brush on the end - the females live a few years, but the boys only 1 year, because they root until they die from exhaustion.
WV: crumi - the performance of boy redback, or his fate?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Oh, both, both.

WV enemfo, which I would have thought was a tautology either way.

Anonymous said...

I was reading about this in a bit more detail here if you can stomach it!

Lefty E said...

Any spider-dude who takes 100 minutes to satisfactorily vibrate a web deserves to be eaten.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Lefty E!

via collins said...

I had to interrupt this comment thread to tell you that on first viewing, the word verification was "Turan", and I though immediately of Kenneth, and then returning to make a comment, the word I will now verify is "glably".

Fabulously writerly verifications - does the veri-bot know it's a literary blog??