Gilly’s breakfast

I know what you’re all saying: I haven’t been posting as many spider photos lately. Guilty as charged. In my defense, classes have started up, and I’m busier, and I’ve already got grading to do, and I’ve got all these students, and…

OK, you don’t want to hear about it. So this morning I fed a few of the spiders and tried to get some action shots.

It wasn’t easy. They’ve all got their dark cobwebby corners where they’d rather hang out quietly, so I’d toss them a fly, whip up my camera, and take a picture of them reacting. Usually, that meant they’d dart out, quickly wrap the fly and bite it once, and then dart back into the shadows, and I’m not that fast. Here, though, I tempted Gilly with the most delicious prey, a very young fly just emerged from the pupal case, still pale and soft, and managed to snap a few quick ones before she retreated and after she’d seized it.

Here you can see how she uses her hindlegs to draw out some webbing and wrap it around her prey. She’s like a killer loom.

A little pathos…I focused on the poor damned fly, having just left its pupal case to find itself imprisoned again and facing envenomation and death.

Spider science is grim and gothic. I’m liking it.


  1. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    So, an observation: When I take the dog our for his morning constitutional it is still quite dark, so I wear a head lamp–the usual type with white LEDs. I have noticed that this head lamp is excellent for finding spiders in the dark, especially when the grass is dry, so there isn’t a lot of dew. The spiders’ eyes glow green in the light from the head lamp. Now, I know spiders don’t have eyelids, but it looks as if their eyes are blinking. Is this because they are moving their eyes around and I am only seeing the direct reflection?

    It’s pretty cool. I recommend it the next time you’re up at 4:30 in the morning.