The Spider Punisher

Happy anniversary to my wife.  Astute Intrigued blog readers should immediately cry foul as I already posted on our wedding anniversary a few weeks back.  Well, I didn’t specify in my opening exactly what the anniversary was – in truth it is her one year anniversary of her heart valve replacement surgery at Mayo.  An extremely stressful time for me and I can only imagine what she must have been going through on her end.  All is well now, her cuts have healed,  she’s made it through her cardio rehab, now close to completely recovered from the unexpected paralysis and once again able to do her favorite activities.  Congratulations to Linda and our bottomless thanks to the doctors and employees at Mayo.   I definitely do not have a good topic to go with such an anniversary, but I do have a …

Black and Yellow Garden Spider found on lot in Brimfield IL, September 2016

… yep, a Spider!  One of those creatures that are rarely featured here on the blog.  There’s a couple of reasons for that.  First being I don’t spend a lot of time out in the field with small glass.  When I go, I go big as most of my subjects prefer to stay as far away from me as possible.  The small creatures are better left for the light glass (macros and maybe some low wides).  We do have a nice macro glass, but that encroaches on Linda’s domain.  Besides, why not get a workout while enjoying one of your favorite past times.  The second reason is, although I live in the middle of a forest, it really do have that much variety in Spider species.  I can give you all the Wolf Spiders you can take, small ones, medium ones, large ones and “holy crap that’s a monster!” size.  We do have the Recluse but I would rather just leave those alone and then a smattering of other far less exciting web spinners that will make the ground look like hundreds of tiny lights when you shine a light on a summer’s night.

Black and Yellow Garden Spider found on lot in Brimfield IL, September 2016

Hit the jump to read a bit more about the Punisher!

Then I found this particular specimen while doing a little birding on the lot.  Just Look at that color – be damned you gray/brown Wolf’s, we found ourselves a shiny jewel.  Hard part was trying to keep at least minimum focus distance for the glass and still be able to get the Spider locked in.  Clearly not going to get the detail in if I would have put the macro on, but in my defense I was like 100 feet away from the house, it was kind of hot out, my legs were hurting, a Yeti was lurking in the bushes in front of the house, Linda was standing on the porch pointing to the ridiculously long honey-do list… oh and zombies – you get my drift – way too difficult to go swap the glass.  So you get what you get.

Black and Yellow Garden Spider found on lot in Brimfield IL, September 2016

Luckily you can tell the main features of our little specimen.  Brightly ordained in yellow stained glass along the sides and dual toned legs gives this a very distinctive look.  The other really cool feature might go unnoticed unless you happen to be a Halloween connoisseur like myself.  I put the next picture in even though it was similar to the first because it had a little better shot of the back – see anything interesting? I personally see a Punisher skull  (black outline and the two yellow eyes.  First thing that caught my eye when I was photographing it.  As if Spider isn’t intimidating enough by itself it goes and paints a skull on its back.  Mother Nature you evil.

Black and Yellow Garden Spider found on lot in Brimfield IL, September 2016

Forgot most of my pictures came out like a kindergarten finger painting… did I mention this thing is small ha.  Anyway, I was really worried about getting this one ID’d.  I can handle birds fairly well, but when it comes to Dragonflies, Butterflies and Spiders I pretty much suck.  Definitely a sense of dread as I sat down at the computer to start the 18 hour process of hunting through web page after web page trying to figure out what this 8 legged walking skull was.  By the way, 8 legged skull is not sufficient to get a hit on this creature, but did manage to find some awesome prop ideas for this year’s Haunted Trail of Tears.  Tried a few more options “two toned spider legs”, “stained glass spider”, “not a wolf spider” without success.  Decided I had to take the long route and entered “black yellow spider” and bam, picture after picture of the exact arachnid I was looking for along with stupid Iowa Hawkeye logo painted on a Spider – had to shield my eyes from that crappy school hehehe.  Anyway my sense of dread was dispersed, the reference was found – now to follow a few links and get the name.  Click, Black and Yellow Garden Spider.. yes, I know that, click Black and Yellow Garden Spider… umm, yeah, got that, click Black and Yellow Garden Spider… what the…wait a minute, it is actually called a Black and Yellow Garden Spider.  Technically named Argiope Aurantia and sometimes referred to as a Golden Orb-Weaver.  Females spin the traditional orbital webs and have a distinctive zigzag feature that is thicker/whiter than the rest of the web.  This feature is called a stablementa or stabilimentum.  Seems to be some confusion on the exact purpose of this feature, but one site mentioned it might be to keep birds or other large insects from flying into the web and destroying it.  So a birding post after all ha!.  Oh, finally just for my own validation, the female spider does consume the sticky strands and spin a new set out each night.  Heard that when I was a kid and never really knew if it was a myth or not until now – don’t get me started on the Brontosaurus or the crap they are trying to pull with poor Pluto.

Hope you enjoyed this little wildlife deviation.  Halloween is almost here – I have to get back to prop building.

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