Charlotte’s Back

     I discovered one of my writing spiders making her home at the corner of the house, just beyond the drainpipe. That means…last year’s Charlottes’ babies made it and also that fall is coming. Normally I don’t see them appear until late September but it’s been a cool year and I think that makes a difference.

     In case you aren’t a faithful reader and missed the first few posts, this blog is named after a particular spider, the Argiope aurantia or writing spider. Argiopes make a thick squiggle in their webs called a stabilimenta which strengthens the web, makes it easier for birds not to fly into, etc etc. They’re called writing spiders because it was assumed that it was some form of communication. The female builds a web in late summer, lays eggs in late fall, then dies.

    I claimed the writing spider as a sort of seasonal familiar after I had lost my job as an English teacher and realized that writing is my calling. It had been a tough year and I saw this beautiful spider making a web right outside the front door. Further research provided her name and habits. Of course I’d read Charlotte’s Web as a kid but I had no idea she was based on a real animal.

     This year’s First Charlotte is beautiful. If you’ve never seen a writing spider, they’re a little intimidating as spiders go, though they are totally harmless to humans. First Charlotte is beautiful but she is also large and in charge. She’s already got a huge pile of spent prey piled neatly on a leaf by the web. She’s always moving around, fixing things, tidying up. 

     I will try to post a picture of her sometime this week. It’s just rained and the web’s a little bedraggled at the moment.

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