Photo Adventures with Curiosity and Learning

May 24, 2007: Queensway Secondary School: More Ladies-in-black, Nephila kuhli or a color morph of Nephila pilipes

This morning was an adventure. Last night I found an unusual Nephila color morph, or so I thought. Today, there was a note on my Flickr site suggesting that she was N. kuhli. I looked for some images and this seems correct. On the otherhand, I consulted with my colleagues at NUS and they are continue to identify her as N. pilipes>. There are unusual color markings near her cephalothorax - a reddish area on the left and right and a yellowish area in the middle. So I went out this morning. to see her and look for any sisters. I was not disappointed.

Here she is with her web. You can get some idea of the size scale here

may 24 1955 nephila web

You can clearly see the reddish areas on either side of her back legs and a yellowish area between.

may 24 1957 nephila

In my excitement, I touched the web and she made a fast escape. Actually this provided a way to capture other presentations

may 24 1960 nephila escape


may 24 1963 escape close

Then she turned and started back to the central portion of her web

may 24 1973 nephila return

And here she is in what I call her launching position: a central position where she can rapidly respond to prey trapped in any segment of the web

may 24 1976 nephila launch

Looking to the side

may 24 1990 nephila right

And another view of her web and her size

may 24 1993 nephila scale


may 24 2004 launch close

Her spinneret with extruded dragline

may 24 2013 launch close

Then I found her sister who was busy repairing her web

may 24 2060 nephila 2 web scale

Another view

may 24 2061 nephila 2 web

A view parallel to the web plane

may 24 2065 nephila 2 web plane

and a closer view

may 24 2071 nephila 2 web plane close

Now to rebuild the destroyed segment: First eat and degrade / recycle the old silk. Here she is using her palpi to grasp the thick golden strand

Now that it is within her grasp, she starts to pull the strand to her mouth

where she literally eats it ( shown here)

and then she moves forward and pulls another segment to her mouth. Note the cleaned strand above her and the thicken strand below and left

High speed protein synthesis. After eating the old silk and either recycling it or degrading it and resynthesizing it, here she is extruding new silk as she climbs up her web building a new radial strand as shown with this video.

may 24 2038 nephila 2 radial weave

Glueing the strand to the the top of her web

may 24 2050 nephila 2 glue radial

From behind - her dorsal side

may 24 2056 nephila 2 dorsal

and closer

may 24 2059 dorsal close

Golden silk

may 24 2089 golden silk

looking from the side

may 24 2111 nephila 2 web plane


may 24 2098 nephila 2 side

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer