How to Spin a Golden Web–Week/Story Number 9

Hi Everyone, This week’s story is about golden orb spiders.  Many live in the dining area at La Mariposa.  More information about them later, but first, the story———-

How to spin a golden web
How to spin a golden web

How to Spin a Golden Web

       Once upon a time, there were three golden orb spiders, Paula and Pauline and Paulette. They lived in Nicaragua in a hotel. They weren’t actually guests at the hotel, but they lived in the outdoor dining room where the human guests admired their beautiful webs and thanked them for eating many mosquitos. Their backs glowed in the sun, greenish gold, set off by their black and yellow legs. They had emerged from the egg sack in the wooden planter along with many other brothers and sisters. The rest of their brothers and sisters had flown on the wind to many different places. But they wanted to stay together and they liked the palm roof and the sounds of people talking and laughing. as well as the many delicious mosquitos they attracted.
Other grown up golden orb spiders had their webs around the dining room. The girls admired how their webs shone golden in the sun. They wished their webs were golden, but they always came out plain white.
“Be patient,” said Grandma Spider. “When you grow up, your webs will be golden. You must wait. Spiders are good at waiting.”
Well, maybe grown up spiders were good at waiting, but Paula, Pauline and Paulette wanted golden webs now. Maybe if they moved their webs closer to the sun, they would catch some of the gold, so they moved out from under the palm roof and built their webs in the sunshine. Their webs were beautiful, but still not gold, “That’s not a good spot,” said Grandma Spider. It was very hot in the sun. Not many bugs came their way. But the three spiders hoped their webs would catch the color of the sunset.
Before the sun went down, it started to rain. The rain started out slow, but soon it was pouring down. Paula Pauline and Paulette left their webs and hid under the palm roof all night long. In the morning, they looked at Grandma Spider’s web, untouched by the storm and golden in the morning light. Paula, Pauline and Paulette wanted to spin golden webs.
“Be patient,” said Grandma Spider. “When you grow up, your webs will be golden. You must wait. Spiders are good at waiting.”
Well, maybe grown up spiders were good at waiting, but Paula, Pauline and Paulette wanted golden webs now. They looked at some yellow flowers growing in the garden nearby. “Those flowers are golden, they said to each other. They will make our webs turn to gold. So Paula, Pauline and Paulette spun new webs. Grandma Spider watched them go back and forth to the garden. The three little spiders carried the yellow petals one at a time and put them in their web. Their webs looked very pretty. Grandma Spider found a feather and put it in her web as a decoration, but shook her head as she watched the little spiders work so hard. “It’s not a good idea,” she said, but the three sisters were so busy they didn’t even hear her. At last, their webs were covered with yellow petals. Paula, Pauline and Paulette stood back and looked. Their webs were yellow, but they still didn’t glow in the sun. Also, they had covered up the sticky parts with flowers and so they caught no mosquitos for supper.
The next morning, they looked at Grandma Spider’s web glowing golden in the morning light and sporting a feather. Paula, Pauline and Paulette wanted to spin golden webs.
“Be patient,” said Grandma Spider. “When you grow up, your webs will be golden. You must wait. Spiders are good at waiting.”
Well, maybe grown up spiders were good at waiting, but Paula, Pauline and Paulette wanted golden webs now. They thought long and hard. How could they make their webs golden. They spun new webs. They caught many mosquitos and a few flies, too. While they thought, they nibbled. While they nibbled, they grew. They went to sleep that night disappointed, but at least their tummies were full.
The next morning, they looked at Grandma Spider’s web glowing golden in the morning light. Paula, Pauline and Paulette wanted to spin golden webs. “You are much bigger.” said Paula to Pauline. “You are much bigger, too,” said Pauline to Paulette. And Paulette looked at her friends and said, “You are almost as big as Grandma Spider.”
Grandma Spider listened to the three little ones. She smiled and didn’t say a word. But she knew. Paula, Pauline and Paulette added to their webs. They worked hard.

“Hey, Paula, your web is golden!  How did you do that?”  Paula looked up from her work.  “Your webs are golden, too,” she said to Pauline and Paulette.  They were spinning golden webs, just like Grandma Spider had said they would.
“Our webs are golden. That’s because we waited so patiently. Spiders are good at waiting,” said Paula, Pauline and Paulette.

THE END

This is a golden orb spider.  I wasn’t able to get a good photo, but this one looks much like the one here.  No one here has had much luck photographing the spiders.  The camera just doesn’t seem to see them, which is good for the spiders.

 Here is a little information about these spiders.  They are called golden orb spiders because of the color of their silk, although the silk doesn’t turn gold until they are adults.  The adult females bodies are 1/5-2 inches (not including their legs), but the males are much smaller.

The web can run from the top of a tree 6m high and up to 2m wide. Unlike other spider webs, the Golden Orb Web Spider’s web is not usually dismantled, but rather repaired and added to.  A web a can last several years.
The webs are not perfect wheels; they are usually off-centre. To make its web, the spider releases a thin thread into the wind. When it catches on something, the spider walks along it trailing a stronger non-sticky thread. It repeats the process in the centre of the line to form a strong Y-frame. Around this, it spins the rest of the web out of sticky capture silk.

The silk is so strong that it can trap small birds, which the spider may or may not eat (depending on which research you prefer). Trapped birds often destroy the web by thrashing around. To avoid such damage, the spider often leaves a line of insect husks on its web (like the safety strip across glass doors!); or builds smaller barrier webs around the main web. I saw a small lizard trapped in one of the webs one morning, but it was gone by lunchtime–I’m guessing some spider had an early lunch.  I ran into a couple strands of the silk a different morning.  They were attached to a table.  They didn’t break, but felt almost like I had plucked a guitar string.

The silk is so strong that some tribal people in the South Pacific to make fishing lures, traps and nets.  They have also been used as bandages to stop blood flow.  The silk is almost as strong as Kevlar, the strongest man-made material.

Anyhow, these are very cool spiders.  I like to watch them move (as long as it’s not too close to me.

Adios for now from Nicaragua!

I am a writer, handworker, artist and teacher (a WHAT!), and a mom of two beautiful daughters who are amazingly 17 and 21. I am working on getting my first book, a fantasy novel for young people, published and am busy spinning on my new spinning wheel. I have been a Waldorf early childhood teacher for 10 years now, and before that, I was a lawyer. Teaching is much more fun.

5 thoughts on “How to Spin a Golden Web–Week/Story Number 9

  1. Reblogged this on Squid's Cup of Tea and commented:
    Found this today and was reminded of my Golden Orb Weaver spider pictures from Tallahassee. The story is so cute, and I can totally imagine the spiders I saw as the characters. Enjoy! 🙂

    Squid

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