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.
You can clearly see the reddish areas on either side of her back legs and a yellowish area between.
In my excitement, I touched the web and she made a fast escape. Actually this provided a way to capture other presentations
Then she turned and started back to the central portion of her web
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
Looking to the side
And another view of her web and her size
Her spinneret with extruded dragline
Then I found her sister who was busy repairing her web
A view parallel to the web plane
and a closer view
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.
Glueing the strand to the the top of her web
From behind - her dorsal side
looking from the side
C. Frank Starmer