Photo Adventures with Curiosity and Learning

Below you can find an assortment of digital photographs of Natasha, the golden silk spider, in her daily routine. Click on the thumbnails below to see larger pictures of Natasha in action.

Natasha on her Web
This is Natasha's web in proportion to the house.
A close-up of Natasha's web. The web spans about 3-4 meters, with a diameter of about 1 meter.
Natasha, as seen from the other side of the web.
Natasha on her web. At the bottom right of this picture you can see the "gold silk", a material that is stronger than kevlar.
Weaving her web. Click on the image and view the circumferential fibers carefully. You'll see small dots on some of them. This is a sticky material that traps an unsuspecting prey tightly in the web.
An up close image of the underside of Natasha.
A good, clear shot of Natasha climbing on her web.
Natasha Creating her Web
Natasha creating her web. First she makes a coarse web structure by extruding silk from her abdomen. She then fills in the spaces between the major support elements. Her tho rear legs direct the fiber to the proper position and anchor it at intersections with the web outline.
A close up shot of Natasha extruding silk from the distal end of her abdomen.
Natasha weaving her web, as seen from her underside.
Natasha spinning her web. Notice how the web is being created where she is working, and the blank area between the support lines that she will work on next. Again, if you click on the images, you'll see the sticky dots on the circumferential fibers.
Natasha hangs upside-down as she creates her masterpiece.
Natasha Ready to Strike
A view of Natasha on her web, ready to pounce on any incoming prey, from the side. She is resting, head down, with her legs holding some web segments under some tension. In this manner, when prey lands in her web, she will feel their arrival and be able to pounce as quickly as possible.
A view of Natasha in pouncing position from the top. The cloudy web region shown in this photo where there appears to be lots of short web segments represents where Natasha attaches herself to the web while in the launching position. After each capture, she positions herself in the launching position, rotates her tail upward and sort of glues herself to this region of the web.
Natasha Captures a Cockroach
We decided to feed Natasha a cockroach to watch her hunting skills in action. Quickly after the cockroach hit the web, Natasha was springing into action. Here she captures and immobilizes the hapless cockroach.
Here Natasha is wrapping her unfortunate victim in sticky spider silk.
Natasha has wrapped her prey, pulled it to the top of her web and hung it there, suspended until dinner. Now she has moved back to her launching position to await her next tasty treat.
Natasha Eats her Dinner
Natasha is in the mood for dinner, so she works her way along her web to a spot where she has previously stored some tasty morsels for just such an occasion.
Natasha eats her hapless prey - a delicious bumblebee.
Six hours and many morsels later, Natasha is satiated. Here are the skeletons of her meal that are left behind, hanging from the spider's web.
After her dinner, Natasha gets to work cleaning her web in anticipation of her next arrival.
Natasha on her web, accompanied by some after-dinner trash - remnants of her last meal.
Satiated and her web cleaned, Natasha settles down to take a nap in the warm sun.
Natasha's Web after a Rainstorm
Natasha's web is covered in droplets of moisture and very easy to see after a rainstorm.
A close-up of the droplet-covered web.
A hapless mosquito, newly captured in Natasha's moist web.
A close-up photograph of Natasha on her wet web. Notice the droplets on her legs.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer