Jan 19, 2007
Not so Itsy-Bitsy
I (literally) ran into this little guy outside the door to Chamas Churrascaria. It was drifting (or ballooning) on a long bit of silk at about head level when I smacked into it. Then it landed on the table.
During our subsequent photo session, I was surprised to see that the spider seemed to be actively engaged with the camera and me. On several occasions, it stopped walking, elevated its head and forebody, and lifted its front legs in what looked to be a declaration of "don't mess with me, I'm strong."
Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but part of my interpretation is thanks to Piers Anthony's book Castle Roogna, which I read in 8th grade. In an early chapter, the book's hero, Dor, encounters a giant spider which expresses very clear interpretations of Dor's various posturings: the first looks like a threat, the second looks like capitulation, and the last finally something like assertiveness mixed with respect -- hands above the head to display size without aggression.
That spider is AWESOME! Is he unPhotoshopped? What's with the turquoise-y fang-y things?
Posted by: minty | Jan 19, 2007 3:12:39 PM
Looks like a jumping spider. They're hunters and they have vision that goes into the ultraviolet range... I think having iridescent features helps them recognize each other.
Posted by: Ken | Jan 19, 2007 3:19:20 PM
I've never been afraid of spiders before, but that thing is terrifying!!
Posted by: Alicia | Jan 19, 2007 3:53:26 PM
Castle Roogna was the best of the Xanth series, by far. I think I was a sophomore in high school when I read it.
Posted by: Don | Jan 19, 2007 5:47:55 PM
Ken -- that's interesting that you've pegged this one as a jumper spider, because that's the kind of spider that was in Castle Roogna. And "Jumper" was the name that he went by.
Minty -- those are pretty much the original colors (depending on your screen, of course). Pretty wild! If you look carefully, I think you'll see (assuming I'm correct) that dark blue ovals that look like eyes aren't the eyes. The eyes are black, and located farther apart and on top of the head's ridge. As for the fangy things, I seem to recall that the working parts of the spider's fangs were underneath and smaller. But still freaky.
If these things are common to NC, I'm surprised I've never seen one before.
Posted by: Phil | Jan 19, 2007 6:36:56 PM
Posted by: Jenny | Jan 19, 2007 7:50:28 PM
I had a housemate once who said he had run away from home when he was young and met Piers Anthony. If I recall correctly, he said he was about in his middle school years. He left his house and somehow got down to the Southeast where Anthony lived, maybe in Georgia or Florida or something. He knew the town Anthony lived in. He asked around that town and found where the house was and went to the house and knocked on the door. Anthony was home. He was nice and talked to my housemate for a while, let him stay the night, and persuaded him to go back home, which he did. Again, if I remember all this correctly, Anthony later recounted the incident in the preface to one of his books. In that preface, he wrote about someone named something like "And-e-ternity" coming to his house, which was a reference to my housemate. I wonder if I'm confused on this because I see that there is an actual book by Anthony called "And Eternity." So maybe I've got it mixed up. Does anyone know about any preface where this name appeared previously?
Posted by: El | Jan 19, 2007 10:48:07 PM
Hi El - -
Thanks for comment (and for your blog link!) Have we met?
If you have an Amazon.com account (and have bought anything in the recent past), you can apparently do a "Search inside the book" of And Eternity, which does have some Author's notes at the back. Maybe your answer is there? Unfortunately, I haven't bought anything from Amazon in a million years, so I can't look.
Posted by: Phil | Jan 19, 2007 11:44:43 PM
That spider is so cool! And so easy to anthropomorphize, with his l'il beard and his widdle close together 'eyes' and his stern demeanor. And his awesome fashion sense.
Posted by: Marianne | Jan 20, 2007 10:56:35 AM
I have been meaning to re-read "Castle Roogna" ever since I saw this post. Finally dug my copy out of the closet, and started reading it on a trip to Albany. The puns are worse than I remember, but the story is still solid and entertaining. And I think your little friend here does look a lot like the description of Jumper, except for the color. Thanks for the little trip back to my geek teen years.
Posted by: Don | Jun 6, 2007 10:13:09 AM