Nope, nothing to do with the Internet but spiders! EEEK!

While I'm not quite an arachnophobe, I'm not a fan either!   But their webs fascinate me!   So beautiful and intricate and strong.... though I do prefer to admire from afar and from behind the camera lens.


Which is why I found this garden orbweaver a bit of a trial.   She'd woven a spectacular web across one of the paths to the house.   She caught me once - after that I took detours!


The orbweavers spin huge strong webs, stringing the silk long distances between trees or posts.   This web was strung between a bush and the verandah post.

I went looking for information on spider identification and I found a Greek myth about spiders!   In a nutshell and with some liberties, the story goes like this...

Apparently, a beautiful young woman called Arachne wove magnificent pictures.   She was proud and boastful and refused to acknowledge that such a special talent was a gift from the gods.   Which annoyed the goddess, Athene, no end.   Athene had a varied portfolio and, among other things, she was the goddess of war, wisdom and the crafts - including weaving.

Disguised as an old woman, Athene visited Arachne. Not realising who she was talking to, Arachne was rude and arrogantly insisted her weaving was better than that of the goddess - a comment which angered the Athene even more. She threw off her disguise and took up Arachne's challenge.

When they'd finished weaving, Athene looked at Arachne's picture.   She saw the young weaver was indeed the better craftswoman. Filled by wrath and jealousy, Athene destroyed Arachne's picture and turned her into a spider, condemning her and her offspring to be weavers for eternity.





Spiders and webs come in all shapes and sizes.   Some like this tiny, delicate web woven over a flat weed in the paddock and etched with morning frost....




... to the enormous webs of the Golden Orbweavers like the one above.   Out in the bush, these are strung between gum trees and you definitely want to watch where you're walking!   The female of this spider is HUGE! The abdomen of this one was the size of the end of my thumb - her mate is the little collection of spindly legs near the end of her abdomen on the other side of the web.


Because we're so close to the bush, we have LOTS of spiders and bugs generally at our place.   I've learned to live with then, and to admire them - but I really prefer them to have their own space!   Though I've become quite used to this huntsman spider which has taken up residence in my office...













And finally I found this little cutey on the wrought iron garden table.   don't you think that beautiful body tapestry is worthy of Arachne's wonderful weaving talent!




Published on eHarlequin Medical Authors Group Blog 9 June 2011