For Sparky and myself, curiosity drives passion which in turn fuels our life's engine. Our passion was capturing the story of both unbuilding the Grace (1929 - 2007) and Pearman (1966 - 2007) Bridges and discovering the unbuilders. It takes a lot of passion to track a project from July 2005 until April 2007 - rain, shine, hurricanes or moving to Singapore. We discovered the joy of discovery learning. Ken Canty opened the front door for us - then Steve Testa, Ponch Billingsley and Mickey Rogers opened many side doors. Below are the highlights of what we discovered, who we met and what we learned.
And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living. Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
My mother-in-law and sister-in-law live in Plant City Florida in an area called Walden Lake. There is a jogging path in the forest surrounding the lake, a perfect place to expect spiders to build their webs. So, early in the morning, I go looking for spiders and their webs - though I did not expect to find anything. Fortunately, my curious eyes are in their high state of curiosity and soon I found many small spiders and their webs. Some were building their webs, some webs were empty and some had caught the morning dew. Here are the results - a great way to start the new year, exploring building and unbuilding at a micro-scale.
The spiders that I found were all members of orb-weaving class of spiders. They all weave circular webs. While weaving, they build the radial elements first and then when all the spokes are built, they start weaving the circumferential elements - there is an example below.
and with her just-in-time dinner - a small bee or wasp
January 1, 2006 update: A better view of a crab spider (Gasterocantha cancriformis) weaving.
Here is another potential dinner candidate
Here is a morning web that caught dew as well as insects
My first encounter with such a tangle of webs
Here are two webs - one is obvious and if you have your curious eyes turned on, you can find the other web
Here, she is weaving her web and is building the 7th circumferential element.
Oops - I disturbed the web and she ran to the center - perhaps expecting an early tasty treat. Look at the 8th circle (counting from the outside) and you can see the remainder of what she was weaving as she ran for the center.
Here is a Leucauge venusta just chillin' a bit waiting for dinner - and there was not much of a wait. Here she is, preparing a small insect for breakfast
When finished, she left the insect attached to the perimeter of the web and resumed some weaving
Here is a close view
A January 1, 2006 update of her web. For each day that I have walked along the path, her web has always been in the same spot. So it is possible to update observations and improve characterization of her behavior
This web was attached to a traffic sign - and the water droplets
refracted the light, making some color
Here is a single droplet
Flowers also caught some of the early morning dew - small droplets on the small petals
This is definitely not micro but macro. I thought the reflection was too good to pass up
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
C. Frank Starmer