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A Creature Feature


At Baker wetlands today I found this wonderful fishing spider. These guys hunt for other critters walking on the surface of the water, much like water striders or "Jesus bugs" do.

Fishing spider ( Dolomedes)

Now to me this creature is beautiful and wonderful and yet many people I know just don't see it that way; in fact there is some evidence that fear of things such as spiders and snakes may be innate in humans. Of course this is reflected in how we portray spiders, insects and in fact arthropods in general. For example last week my wife and I watched part of a horrible grade B movie called Princesss of Mars. The good guys-even the alien good guys clearly were vertebrate type critters. But of course bad guy spider like critters put in several appearances.

Now sometimes the arthropoid critters are the good guys-and I am thinking of District 9 where the arthropoid aliens, appropriately called "prawns" are meant to provide the audience with away to examine our own human failings.

Speaking of movies that make us examine ourselves, I highly recommend Splice. I had seen the trailiers on TV but had pretty much dismissed the movies as yet another science gone awry horror flick. However my son urged us to give it a look and I was pleasantly surprised. And there were no arthropoid monsters. Only human ones.


Paul Decelles 7 years, 11 months ago


Actually the bubbles are really where the surface of the water is indented since the spider takes advantage of surface tension to walk rather than float as a boat would. To get an idea of how this works, take a glass of water and a metal (relatively small) paper clip. If you are careful you can get the paper clip to sit on surface of the water just like the spider does.

As for the markings and why there are so many types of spiders...I don't know. But I do know many spiders are highly visual and some have elaborate visual displays. Haven't seen the Browne Darwin biography...will add it to my list of reads.

Paul Decelles 7 years, 11 months ago

All right Multi...what is the 6 on one nail trick?

Paul Decelles 7 years, 11 months ago

Ah ha! Thanks...will have to give this a try.

Nikki May 7 years, 11 months ago

I think spiders are amazing. OUTSIDE. See, this one would give me the creeps, but he's where he needs to be. Inside, it's beyond creeps, it's a total freak out. I know I'm bigger, and most won't bite, but still. It's a phobia by definition. IRRATIONAL. And if one landed on me, I'd be ready to puke. Can't help it.

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