Spiders and their Secrets
Something I have come to appreciate more greatly recently, not for any great value that they provide in my life, is the small beings that hide in the shadows of my home. They find comfort in corners that they have cushioned for themselves with webs. Spiders are something that lingers in the corner of my home and my life, something that I have always seen people fear. This is a fear I have never understood, although I have been told that there may be something innate in the way that we fear the small shadows that scuttle in the corner of our eyes.
One fact about spiders that I did not know before I fell down this cobweb-infested rabbit hole was that some male black widow spiders will actually willingly allow their partners to consume them, sometimes even going as far as to place themselves in the mandibles of their partners. When the female partner ingests the male, this pretty firmly secures that the male’s genes will be passed down and he is almost guaranteed fatherhood as the female who has consumed the male will store the male’s sperm cells within herself to use at a later date. If the female partner, despite being presented with the male right near her maw, chooses to, she may reject the male. In cases where the male force feeds himself to her, the male simply regurgitates him back up, refusing to carry his sperms or even produce any of his offspring. Females are more uncommon than males amongst the species and it is far more common for male redback spiders to die before they ever find a black widow to mate with who will accept their traits and characteristics to pass on to a subsequent generation.
While they are not common and do not linger in the corners of my home, the common spiders are not the only ones I find myself fascinated with. Tarantulas for example, also demonstrate some rather interesting traits. Almost all species of new-world tarantulas have been known to use urticating hairs or bristles as a defense mechanism in certain scenarios such as when they are approached or threatened by a predator. This is an act of basically flinging these ‘hairs’ off of themselves and into the skin and eyes of their predators in order to cause those that may attack them a great level of discomfort so as to potentially stop their impending onslaught. It would not be one-hundred percent accurate to refer to these bristles as hairs as, due to the nature of spiders as arachnids rather than mammals, it is not truly hair.
It is often the littlest things in our world that hold the greatest mysteries. In the corner of our eye, in every shadow is another fascinating secret, in every corner something to be discovered. The unveiling of truths, even if they are not kept secret from us, can be one of the great joys that this world can bring to us. Fiction can be vast and brilliant but we do not have to look far to find that splendor in the real world too.