(left) spider brooch (center) Samantha the spider (right( Samantha wrapping a grasshopper in sticky filament

image: (left) Lady Hale's spider brooch (center) Samantha (right) Samantha in web wrapping grasshopper in filament

|| 27 September 2019

Spiders: In The Court And The Garden

Lady Hale’s spider brooch reminded me. When the media began commenting on the diamanté spider brooch the president of the Supreme Court (UK) recently wore, it reminded me to introduce you to Samantha.

Samantha is the very large spider that lives in the Provence-sur-la-Prairie garden. You will note from the photos that her body shape is much like that of Lady Hale’s spider brooch. The markings on her body make me wonder if the brooch designer might have been inspired by a spider the same species as Samantha.

I discovered Samantha the last week in August when I went out to my storage apartment and found she had woven a very large web stretched between the two trellises that flank the small porch at the entrance to the apartment. Such a beautiful web. I was careful to duck under the web to reach the apartment door so as not to dislodge the web. I also did not wish to tangle Samantha in my hair.

Since I garden organically, spiders like Samantha are an asset. A spider her size — about 4 inches from tip of her front leg to tip of her back leg — can devour a lot of harmful insects.

A wind and rain storm the first week in September disturbed Samantha’s apartment entrance web. She created a new web in the shelter of the hackberry near the gate. I had taken to checking on her every morning. One morning I arrived in find her in the process of wrapping a very large grasshopper in a sticky filament

In the short time it took me to dash to the house and grab my camera, Samantha had the grasshopper almost totally wrapped and securely attached to the web. (on right in the above image) A couple of days later, the grasshopper was gone. I assume Samantha had eaten it.

I was surprised to observe how much time Samantha spends "upside down." Including when she spins a filament around a prey. Actually I inverted my photo (center in image above) so you could see a better comparison with Lady Hale's brooch.

An interesting or unusual brooch or pendant can be a good conversation starter with strangers. Though one should stick to jewelry. President Theodore Roosevelt’s irrepressible daughter Alice once wore a live snake around her neck to a White House lawn party. The snake started a LOT of conversations. A great many of those conversations were about how the president should do something about his daughter’s public behavior.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone