every once in a while i like to dedicate webnesday to audience participation – the cool spiders and associated stories, photos and stuff that people have sent/given me or alerted me to.  webnesday thrives on these, so thanks to everyone who has contributed – 8-legged hugs to all of you!  since christmas (and the last time i posted about my spider stuff), i’ve been accumulating a nice collection of, hmm, arachnidiana? … and tucking away useful photos and links for later, so let’s get started!
first, in the interweb category, a few pretty spectacular news stories have turned up.  there’s this artistic giant tunnel-web made of packing tape, for one.  there’s also this wicked gallery of spider robots (with videos!) from wired.com.
in the photo submissions category, a friend sent me the two spiders below – his cousin (k. bache) shot these beauties while traveling in siem reap.

Nephila pilipes 1
i was pretty sure of the genus on this one, since it looked like other Nephila species i’d featured here before (N. clavata from japan, and this one – not for the faint of heart!).  the pattern on the abdomen identified it as N. pilipes – here’s a closer look.

Nephila pilipes 2
the second spider was a little trickier to ID, but the zig-zag bands in the web helped tremendously.

turns out they’re characteristic of the genus Argiope, and are called stabilimenta.  they reflect UV light and may function at least partially to make the web visible to large, blundering animals (like us) that might otherwise walk through it and ruin the spider’s hard work.  a few other genera also make them (including my friend Gasteracantha), although not quite like this.
this little guy and his attached red mite came from my dad, at the lake in northern mn.  no idea about an ID yet, but i’ll keep an eye out for him and his cousins while i’m there in a few weeks!

moving on to the arachno-goodies category, 2010 has been a good year for spider items (spidems?).  i got a swatch of this sparkly fabric in my christmas stocking:

and was given this cleverly crafted bead-spider by tomboy:

and then lucked out myself, in finding this irresistible brooch (complete with jeweled knees!).

the color didn’t show up so well, but the sparklies are three shades of green, fading along the length of the abdomen.  it’s one of my favorite accessories at the moment.
and finally, although i cannot claim to actually have this in my possession, here is a beast that occasionally parks outside our house (belonging to a friend of the neighbors’) – a porsche spyder.  that would probably make my little collection complete enough to get out of the business all together… so let’s hope i never get one.  seems pretty unlikely anyway  ;)

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