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Submitted on
June 7, 2009
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8 (who?)

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Date Taken
Aug 15, 2008, 12:37:14 PM
Nature's Way by Zippo4k Nature's Way by Zippo4k
"Nature's Way of saying 'Don't mess with me!'."
This title is based on a line my Uncle David Stott said in reference to a brightly colored insect he found in his backyard.

I've been bad... well, lazy actually. I have lots of photos, both of just insects I've found, and of things encountered during my family's trip to Georgia that I've been slacking off on posting online. Tisk, tisk!

This big, ol' black widow was living in North Carolina's Green Swamp National Park, one of only a few places where you can still find wild Venus Flytraps (which we did not see, unfortunately). The big girl was underneath a piece of dried, dead wood on a flat that was left over where a marsh had been. She had two or three egg sacks there when my mother (I think it was my mother) over turned the wood she was nesting under. In typical widow manor, she flipped on her back to expose her bright red hourglass marking in warning of her potent bite. I came & snapped some photos before returning the wood back where is had been and leaving her and her eggs in peace.

It was summer, it was hot, it was dry, and this was also a sight that experiences regular annual burnings (controlled fires to help remove dead brush and encourage new plant growth), so it comes as no surprise that the marsh was virtually gone in that part (there was water left, but it was pretty fowl stuff). Else where the park felt more like a desert, like something from the western U.S. (the dried scrub lands where you'd expect to find cow rustlers and things from cowboy movies).
But then you'd look back and go, 'hey, wait.... isn't that a sun dew?... and these are trumpet pitchers.... these things live in swamps, not arid scrub!' The park is really a beautiful collection of several different habitats from woodlands to swamps to scrub where you can see a diverse range of plant species and (if you stick around long enough) animals.

This is what the place looks liek on a good day: [link] (note, I did not take this photo.)

We just happened to be there during the dry part of the year. Oh well. We saw a good number of wild plant species, some interesting habitats, and some rather impressive insects (like the wolf spider posted earlier: [link] )
There were many young whip tail lizards out and about too! Those little guys are FAST! Being so fat and slow (well, slow at any rate) I couldn't catch them, or get close enough for a good shot. Guess I need to work on my patients. ^^;
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WeAreSmeagol Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2010
It looks like her, Shelob. Smeagol likes grunt avatar because Smeagol plays HALO because HALO shaped like ring like Precious. :)
dodoman1 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Black widows are actually very caring wives, did you know that?
Sir-Pumpkinhead Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Really good caption :D and excellent text to accompany it ^-^
You must've enjoyed the visit to the marsh quite much (even if it was dry at the time), and for what you mention, you saw plenty of creatures :D
I'm not afraid of spiders, not even the widows, but I do take care not to bother them nor play with them. 'tis a good advice if you want to avoid their bite ;P We have them over here too. They're rare, but I've seen a bunch during my life ^^ Maybe it's because they're not so "impressive", but I'm more nervous around thos big grey or brown weaving spiders. They do give me the creeps since I can see them more clearly :o
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2009
huh... (thinking)

the spiders you described... could you tell me more about them (what they look like or what their webs look like)? :sherlock:
Sir-Pumpkinhead Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
:? let me remember (it's been a while since I've seen them)...

I do remember their colors are usually earth ones (browns, greys, nothing too flashy). They're rather big (perhaps 7 cm. long?) and their abdomen (or the back area where the organs are) is quite big too. I saw one spinning her web during the night and I could clearly see it was getting it from her back. If bothered, they make their webs vibrate by "jumping" on it, as if they were about to leap to your face. I got rid of them by capturing them in plastic jars and freeing them in the wild just a few houses from mine.
Hope this helps so you can identify or imagine more or less what they look like ^-^
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2009
The behavior you describes is a common one. Even our cellar spiders do that. I believe part of the idea behind it is so that the spider becomes harder to see (certainly the case with the spindly cellar spider... they virtually disappear when they do that), but I'm not sure.

First thing I thought when I read your description was a large female barn spider ([link]), which is what I'd expect up here in the states, but ultimately I'm not sure.
The huge abdomen though suggests it's probably a female, though, regardless of what ever the species is. :D

In general, it sounds like a kind of orb weaver (which is a very, vary big group of spiders). They're really nothing to worry about (though, like all spiders, I try to use to practice 'look but don't touch';). Sorry I can't give a more decisive answer. :C
Sir-Pumpkinhead Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Interesting :nod: I can account to the spider's idea of working: almost bumped into one when I went out to the garden, that's why I'm a bit afraid of them :(

Thanks for providing the image :) they're similar, but the ones over here are not so "spiky". The body is similar though, and they seem quite big too :o
Hehehehehe! :XD: they're always bigger, females I mean, aren't they?

I believe that's the safest way to live around them too. I'm glad to know they're not venomous (of the mortal type). I'll be cautious however, one never knows ^^
If I see one, I'll try and photograph it so as to show you :D in fact, if I see any peculiar critters I'll take their picture to share it with you ^____^
Thanks as always :hug:
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2009
Well, females have larger abdomens for... well... egg-making, but they also tend to be much longer lived (at least in the case of species with lifespans that stretch over more than one year. Male tarantulas, for example, live only about a year/year & a half after reaching maturity, females can live anywhere from 5-10 years, but this is heavily species dependent (I got this from wikipedia, so take this with a grain of salt).)
Males have smaller abdomens and very large pedipalps (the 'legs' on either side of the jaws... the little ones). They're large because they're basically the spider equivalent to a... well... penis. Not quite, because the sperm is made in the abdomen. the palps act as eye droppers to take the sperm and put it in the female's genital opening on the underside of her abdomen (called the epigyne).
Rayn-Hammer Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I love spiders, but if I came upon one of these ladies, I'd freak the hell out and run
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2009
They're really not that bad, just don't play with them or try to handle them.
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