Friday, April 06, 2007

Things Change

This is the fruit of the Thatch Palm or Pea Palm, Thrinax excelsa from March the 20th.

Now on April the 6th it is getting a more intense pink blush just in time for Easter. Eventually all the fruits will ripen to black. Many will shrivel and dry while still attached to the cluster and the whole thing turns into a shrunken dessicated carcass with no hint of its former glory.

One of the other things our winter rains brings us every year is the bloom of Crab Spiders. A mountainside of fresh green grass, shrubs and new leaves on the Kiawe Trees, Prosopis pallida cause all kinds of insects to come forth and multiply with the refreshed food sources. The Crab Spiders respond to this new food supply as well and start making webs any where they can.

They build new webs everyday and walking through gardens becomes an exercise in silk avoidance and removal.

This is the belly of the horned beast.

Gasteracantha elipsoides is also called the Jeweled Spider and is about the size of a pencil eraser. This is the top of the spider showing its horns and elaborate decoration. Be sure to click the image for the full on expanded closeup version. That includes you too Chuck.

Unwrapping yourself from the incredibly strong sticky silk threads can sometimes be a chore. What is more fun is when the spiders get stuck in your hair or even better when they fall down inside your shirt. Good thing they aren't quick to bite.

As the mountain dries back up for the summer and the insect population settles down the annual Silk Festival of Crabs slowly winds down. It will be another year before you can walk face first into invisible webs around every corner.


Annie in Austin said...

There's a 'jeweled' spider sort of like that around here, Christopher. They show up once in awhile, especially in the Abelias so I've seen them life-size but not in such detail as in your photo. One or two of these spiders are quite interesting, but I don't know if I could handle a garden full.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Looking up the proper zoological name of this spider showed them as endemic to the south east. The one here has a very different and more intricate pattern than those on the mainland that I saw on the sites.

chuck b. said...

Ugly little monster is what it is.

Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent photos! The close up of the spider is fascinating!