Friday, January 28, 2011

Black widows, Part I

I keep promising to do regular wildlife posts, and something keeps putting them off: sometimes something more important comes up, sometimes, well, sometimes I don't know what happens. But I finally had it all squared away this week. I'm kicking it off with ... big surprise ... black widow spiders. (I know. Again. But I thought a proper post was in order.)

However, yet again, I got sidetracked, this time by a cold. More to the point, by my cold medicine. I've had a cold for half the week, and it's not the end of the world for sure, but I finally decided I would actually like to breathe. This is a problem. Decongestants, antihistamines, expectorants (what? I'm already grossing you out with black widows, right?), and really anything stronger than a children's chewable vitamin (and maybe those too) -- they all have about the average medicinal effect on me. What isn't average at all is their drowsiness effect. Seriously. I just now sat here, with my head cocked to the side like a dog waiting for a treat, racking my brain because I couldn't remember the word "drowsy." Cold medicine especially, including the alleged non-drowsy kind, either knocks me out straightaway or renders my intellect somewhere between Sarah Palin and a sea slug. (Decide for yourself who belongs on which end of that spectrum. It's still not good news for me.)

So if I were to give you a Wildlife Wednesday this week, all you would have gotten would have been something like this:

See? Did you see the error there? I just proofread it, and I know there's at least one error. I spelled "Yea" "Yay!" Clearly I'm not ready for this post.

But! Today is a good day for black widows anyway, because this one won me a camera rental, thanks to Aimee over at Greeblemonkey and all the wonderful, awesome, able-to-see-beyond-spider-prejudice people who voted for me:

You might recognize her from the top, although I flipped her for the header. Embiggen her here.

That gives me an idea. I can totally cheat and call this "Black widows Part 1." I have plenty of images from when I wasn't drugged/incoherent. Enjoy.

The classic:

A brilliantly illuminated juvenile (thought by some to be an adult brown widow but I totally don't think it is, and I've hatched a generation of spiderlings and am watching them through their moltings just to prove myself correct -- more on that next week):

A super closeup, showing her eyes and mouthparts:

And just so you can appreciate how small the eyes are and how big of a freak I am for getting so close, a full-frame head-on shot:

And lastly, our babies:

...and their rather unfortunate favorite meal:

I'll have more to share next week.

What? I look at your baby pictures.


Meghann said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, I don't think I could actually raise them. I do like photographing spiders though. In my flickr stream there are some shots of a lovely banana spider that took up residence on the side of our house this fall.

I'm hoping she comes back when the weather is warmer, I have a macro lens now that I'd love to use on her!

lucy said... Best Blogger Tips

Congratulations on the Grebblemonkey win -- I found your blog through that, and I am already fascinated and highly amused. Your picture of yourself in crocs, bra, and walmart bag....well, it's brilliant. And hysterical. Cold meds have the same effect on me -- hope you feel better.

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips

Meghann: Those are some gorgeous shots! I love that species.

Lucy: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. (Just so everyone's clear, she didn't mean cold meds make me don such an outfit. She's referring to this fiasco. I try to wear a shirt, even when I have a cold.)

And thank you. I do feel mostly better.

SuzRocks said... Best Blogger Tips

So my husband is pretty much DEATHLY afraid of spiders. For some reason he can risk his life doing every kind of crazy activity, but when it comes to spiders, he is like a little girl.

He does a 'spider check' every night just to make sure there aren't any spiders in his bed/room. One night, he finds a black widow like a few feet away from the head of his bed. He couldn't sleep for weeks....

FireMom said... Best Blogger Tips

It's funny. I didn't *think* I had a problem with spiders. UNTIL I READ THIS POST. omg.

But amazing shots. I think. I don't know. AHHHH. :)

Colleen said... Best Blogger Tips

Um... yeah.... that "freaking people out" part of your blog header.... totally true.

: )

Carolyn Cummings said... Best Blogger Tips

So...most people consider having generations of poisonous spiders living on their property an infestation....I hope they don't get in your house.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

Penelope said... Best Blogger Tips

You are such a refreshing delight. A pleasure to find someone so eloquent and artistic and sharing my admiration for spiders.