Thursday, July 19, 2018

Million Babies

One early Sunday morning i was out after coffee, donned with my normal jogging pants, long sleeves and a hat. I am expecting to see a lot of butterflies. I purposely intend to go to my so called "butterfly sanctuary" i term i give to an area under some trees where the undergrowths consist of both hosts and nectaring plants for butterfly. For the many visits i've been going there, it did not fail me. Many butterflies converge there, and also maybe the already very tall trees give the butterflies the environment both not fully exposed to the sun and the enough humidity for them to live nicely. 

However, this time my time was spent differently. I noticed that the area's vegetation are already in the mature stage, maybe not anymore good hosts for the caterpillars. So i took photos of some moths and beetles that i normally ignore when butterflies abound. This morning the primary purpose is not there so i took photos of whatever took my fancy. Even the dried grass fruits ready for wind dispatch are good photo subjects. 

Then i found this! I was a bit scared as they are very plenty, newly hatched baby spiders. Maybe they are hundreds of thousands in one group. I thought they might just have newly emerged. I can't even see the egg sacs they emerged from. 

 undisturbed yet

I watched closely at the somehow not moving spiderlings, just hanging on those almost invisible fine webs. I can't even see their mother even outside the community.

After getting a few pictures i tried disturbing the web with some little movements. 

Everybody moved downwards sliding on the web threads attached to the base of the plant they are in. Can you see the fine threads sparkling with the morning sunlight? They seem to be very strong, swirling pliantly with the wind. 

There they go, everybody's instinct is to come down for safety, maybe to hide on the ground. They can sense that their present predator is big maybe because of the strong movement of their web-house. Others just fell, maybe purposely or maybe they just slipped from the web, i don't know! The drama continues and i was so curious with my little experiment. 

After a few minutes, and after i am done with my photos i stopped moving the branch they are in. Just a few seconds of silence and they immediately rushed upwards again to their big original community. I just am not sure what happens to those that fell to the ground, i hope they can still come up to their safety again. Their pace is so fast, in a few seconds they are already up there again. The only signal or communication they have is the movement of their web and the branch the web is clinging. 

Spiderlings are hatched with that plenty of numbers because their predators are plenty, and a lot of them die while at their spiderling-hood stage. The number is nature's way of preserving the species through the few that will survive its harsh environment. I just did not have the time to observe more for their other characteristics as a group, nor to watch for any predator that might come here. Or probably with my presence for a few minutes, they were spared by the predators who are also scared of me. I went there again 2 weeks after, they were not there anymore. I hope that means they are already independent making their own lives, away from their spider siblings!