Where is West Virginia? West Virginia Map Location

My Observations Had Slowed Me, And I Was Ready Now For A Closer Look. I Had Taken In The Whole Of The Forest And Was Ready For The Pieces, The Minutiae, The Pleasure Of Beholding “The Other.” I Did Not Have Far To Look. Surrounding Me Were Dark Columns Of Trees. The Hemlocks’ Short Evergreen Needles Cast A Deep Shade. As I Reached Out To Touch Their Bark, I Noticed Webs In Some Places. We Tend To Think Of Bark As Somewhat Lifeless, But Of Course It Isn’T. Numerous Organisms Live On Bark And Spend Their Entire Lives There.

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The Webs I Saw Were A Few Inches Across And Not The Type Strung Between Branches; Instead They Were Like Webby Sheets Attached To Ridges In The Bark. As I Looked Closer I Noticed, Somewhere On Each Of These Webs, A Circular Hole Receding From The Surface Down Toward The Trunk Like A Funnel. This Was The Work Of A Funnel-Web Spider. The Sheet Of Webbing Isn’T Sticky Like Some Other Webs; It Functions More Like The Head Of A Drum. When A Small Insect Causes The Web To Vibrate, The Spider Senses It And Zooms Out Of Its Funnel Hole. He Captures The Insect, Bites It, Wraps It In Silk, And Drags It Down Into The Hole. Some Types Of Spiders Spin A New Web Every Evening, But The Funnel-Web Keeps The Same One All Year, Making Repairs As Necessary.

I Could See A Spider Perched At The Edge Of The Hole Closest To Me. When I Raised My Camera To Snap His Picture, He Ducked Back Into The Hole. I Put The Camera Down And Watched For A Few Minutes, And He Soon Climbed Back Up To The Edge. Again, I Raised My Camera, And, Again, He Backed Away. I Spoke To That Spider As One Might With A Recalcitrant Three-Year-Old. Come On, Pleeaasse, Just One Picture. And The Unspoken Threat: Don’T Make Me Collect You. It Was An Idle Threat, Of Course.

Spiders Are Critical Components Of The Ecosystem, Primarily Because Their Feeding Reduces Other Insect Populations, But Also Because Other Organisms, Such As Wasps, Birds, And Lizards, Feed On Them. I Didn’T Believe That Collecting One Spider Would Harm This Ecosystem I Had Probably Stepped On At Least One Unknowingly But Feared More That It Might Harm My Spirit. The Dali Lama Recently Was Asked What Sort Of Things Should Be Taught To Children. “Teach Them To Be Kind To The Insects,” Was His Reply.

Spiders Are Loners. They Are Aggressive Predators And Will Not Hesitate To Capture And Eat Other Spiders, Even Ones Of Their Own Species. And Other Spiders Would Not Hesitate To Eat Them, Either. This Makes Mating Especially Tricky; A Spider Must Make Direct Contact With Another Spider Without Becoming Its Dinner. As A Result, They Have Evolved Elaborate Attractants And Mating Rituals.

Much Of The Information About Spider Mating Comes From R. Gering, Who Devoted His Career To Studying The Topic. The Funnel-Web Mating Story Begins With An Adolescent Male Spider Who Feels A “Sensation Of Fullness In The Testes And Of Emptiness In The Palpal Organs.” (The Palpal Organs, Or Pedipalps, Are Feeler-Like Structures Near The Mouth That Resemble Short Legs.) In Response To This Feeling, He Builds A Small Web And Rubs Against It. I Will Leave It To Gering To Tell What Happens Next: “The Male’S Action Presumably Produces A Tactile Stimulation Which Causes The Extrusion Of The Seminal Fluid Droplets. These Droplets Coalesce To Form A Single Drop Of Seminal Fluid Which Remains On The Web.” The Spider Then Takes His Pedipalp And Dips It Into The Seminal Fluid, Which Is Drawn By Capillary Action Into A Narrow Duct In The “Palm” Of The Pedipalp.

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