you will be astonished to hear, no doubt, that in among the sea and jungle and sky photos… there are spiders!  not as many as i’d like, but i did see a few of these guys, and my new little point and shoot (thanks, dad!) did a pretty good job with them.  this is Gasteracantha sp., a ‘spiny’ orb weaver, apparently an invader of the hawaiian islands (or perhaps adventive?) and the subject of some taxonomic disagreement, since some sources call it G. mammosa while others consider it a synonym of G. cancriformis (of necklace fame).

anyway, the title of this edition is perhaps overly dramatic; the bishop museum of hawaii lists it as a ‘bad guy’ for being non-native (not clearly explained) and goes on to say that it’s more harmless than it looks, although i have also read that it will bite if the web is disturbed and may be poisonous.  others seeking online IDs have come up with similar info, and whichever species it is, it’s very interesting to look at.  the spiderlings are cute, too, although they don’t look much like their parents.  we tended to see them in large webs along the edges of sidewalks, and i was surprised at the spider’s smallish size given the span of the web — often the spider was right in the middle and looked like a small amorphous blob of detritus; that’s probably the point (no pun intended, i swear).

it was a little tricky to shoot these guys as the webs danced in the breeze, so i don’t have a huge number of images of them, but from what i saw they had lovely coloration and very interesting sculpture on the abdomen (both dorsal and ventral) and i’d love the chance to look at them more closely sometime.  alive, of course, not encased in a drop of acrylic!

a lot of my current web traffic (sorry) seems to be spider-related, so it’s only fitting that my 4ooth post be (of) arachnid(s) in nature.  spider on!