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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Golden orb web spider spins ant-repellent silk



                              Two Golden Orb spiders:the one on the left is a female and the one on the right is a
                               male
                               (source of image:http://geoffpark.wordpress.com/category/invertebrates/page/2/ )

To read an article entitled,  Golden orb web spider spins ant-repellent silk  please click on the highlighted words in this sentence. So once again we see that it was another animal species which beat humans to the punch, this time it is the Golden orb web spider that seems to have created the first known insect repellent!

According to the website http://www.naturia.per.sg/buloh/inverts/nephila.htm ,  the Golden Orb spider species
" makes the largest and strongest web. It gets its name from the golden colour of its silk."   Female spiders can measure up to 45 mm while the smaller males measure only 6 mm.    

The web created by the female orb spider " is extremely strong. So strong that even small birds stick in the net!!"   
"E.J. Banfield, a naturalist who lived on Dunk Island in Queensland, wrote in 1918 about indigenous people using these webs for fishing.
The end of a stick was twisted in the web to attach the web to it, then the stick was waved about to spin the web into a single line about a metre long. The spider was squashed onto the end of the line and trailed in the water. Fish that attacked the bait became attached by their mouths and were taken. The breaking strain of the line was estimated at about 0.3kg but this was of no real consequence because the fish that were being caught were only about 4cm long. However, the method was successful enough to yield 17 fish in 10 minutes of observation."
Being a male of this insect species is a risky proposition at best, because   "The web is occupied by a single female and several hopeful males. Although it might not be true of Nephila pilipes, in the related species, Nephila plumipes, 60% of males are eaten during or after" mating!!


"This species was first described by the Danish entomologist, Johan Fabricius, in 1793. A pupil of Linnaeus, the Swedish scientist who devised the basis of modern biological classification, Fabricius went on to become a professor at the University of Kiel (which was in Denmark at that time), publishing several important works on insects."
"The Golden-Orb Spider is found in the northern parts of Australia as well as in South-East Asia and in the Papua-New Guinea region."

source:http://www.learningspark.com.au/shop/nt/gospider/index.html 
"The golden silk orb-weavers (genus Nephila) are a genus of araneomorph spiders noted for the impressive webs they weave. ( The Araneomorphae (also called the Labidognatha) are a suborder of spiders. They are distinguished by having fangs that oppose each other and cross in a pinching action, in contrast to the Mygalomorphae (tarantulas and their close kin), which have fangs that are nearly parallel in alignment.  source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araneomorph )

Nephila consists of numerous individual species found around the world. They are also commonly called golden orb-weavers, giant wood spiders, or banana spiders. In North America, the golden silk orb-weavers (see also Nephila clavipes) are sometimes referred to as writing spiders due to occasional zigzag patterns (stabilimenta) built into their webs, though these occur much more frequently in the webs of Argiope, such as the St Andrew's Cross spider."

"The species N. jurassica, which lived about 165 million years ago, had a leg span of some 15 cm, and is the largest known fossilized spider/


  "The genus name roughly translated from Ancient Greek, means "fond of spinning", a testament to the enormous webs the golden orbs weave. The golden orb's web has been seen to start at the top of a 6 metre tree and stretch as much as 2 metres across. Whereas most other spider webs are short-lived, these impressive structures can last for years. "

 Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_silk_orb-weaver

I know many people have a fear or dislike of spiders however they are amazing animals which have very important roles and lives on our planet!  Spiders are predators that eat various other arthropods, usually smaller than themselves. Because they are acting as predators they kill and eat many harmful species of insects to humans.

 Spiders "are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exception of air and sea colonization. As of 2008, approximately 40,000 spider species, and 109 families have been recorded by taxonomists!!"
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider



Here is a short video about  The Golden Orb species  which I found on Youtube:






How many of you knew that some spiders species consist of members who live together (ie.they are social animals)?? I didn't know this until now! Fascinating!!

A few species of spiders that build webs live together in large colonies and show social behavior, although not as complex as in social insects. Anelosimus eximius (in the family Theridiidae) can form colonies of up to 50,000 individuals. The genus Anelosimus has a strong tendency towards sociality: all known American species are social, and species in Madagascar are at least somewhat social. Members of other species in the same family but several different genera have independently developed social behavior. For example, although Theridion nigroannulatum belongs to a genus with no other social species, T. nigroannulatum build colonies that may contain several thousand individuals that co-operate in prey capture and share food."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider

I hope you have enjoyed learning about The Golden Orb spiders and spiders in general. I sure have!!! :)

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.