July 20, 2006

Spider Speak

My husband likes to put freaky photos on his desktop to gross the kids out. His favorites are cow-patties, flies, and close-ups of really MEAN looking spiders. The kids enjoy this - even though they usually say, "EEEEEEwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Groooooossssss!"

Here's one of his latest favorites:


Even scarier than the spider is the fact that my kids know more about it than I do.

Here's the conversation they had when Daddy put the photo up:

"Those spiders have eyes all over the place." - Daddy
"Yeah, it's amazing that we can catch them at all." - ME

"They don't see very accurately, but their sense of feeling and motion is quite acute." - Son

I mean, really... what nine year old uses the word ACCURATELY and ACUTE in regular conversations with his parents (and in the same sentence)? After we were able to stuff our tongues back in our mouths and both shoot each other an equally awed glance (husband and I), we continued the conversation.

"What are those two things on the front? They look like furry teeth?" - Daddy

I guess he figured he would test to see if Mr. Know-It-All really knew what he was talking about.

"Those are his biters and the orange things on the side are his venom sacks. The two things on the front are his feelers, even though they look like legs." - Son

I grinned at Kevin who was looking at me incredulously as if he didn't believe how much Kaden knew about bugs (pardon me, arachnids).

His father and I both knowing that most of his bug knowledge is from reading bug encyclopedia books (which he loves); I just smiled and winked and said, "I homeschool him!" Oh, well - I can TRY to take credit for it.

After doing a little studying, here's what I did learn about wolf spiders (seems Kaden was being a little too general about the eyes part... since Wolf Spiders are active prey hunters and can see relatively well - although they also rely on other sensors, too). I'll still give him an A+ for effort. It certainly blew me away!

Most wolf spiders have stout bodies and long, thick legs. Their bodies are low to the ground even when walking or running, giving them the appearance of continually being on the prowl. Wolf spider species are similar in general form, but their bodies vary greatly in size, ranging from 2 mm (0.08 in) to nearly 40 mm (1.6 in) in length. They typically have two very large, forward-looking eyes in the middle of their face, flanked by two large upward-looking eyes, and a row of four smaller eyes below. Wolf spiders generally locate their prey by sight, but may also use touch to determine the nature of the prey. They use their front legs to grab prey, then bite and crush it with powerful jawlike mouth parts called chelicerae.

Excellent WOLF Spider Photo by
James P. Rowan
Article quote from everythingabout.net

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Till said...

Spiders are magnificient creatures :)

The "feelers", by the way, are called pedipalps. As you read they are used to hold prey, but in the case of male spiders, they are also used to transfer sperm.

There is a fascinating article about spider reproduction, if you don't mind reading a blog by an atheist professor of evolutionary biology, here: http://tinyurl.com/h2vka
(not much about evolution in that particular article. bit of adult reference near the end though, but nothing bad or graphic).

Anyway, beautiful picture. Oh and congrats for the smart kids. I'm sure you can take more then a little credit.

phyllis said...

That picture is creeeepppyy!! I know you Texans (former texan, texan at heart?) think everything is bigger there, but here in FL, I have found wolf spiders as large as my hand sneaking around. For heavens sakes, that's big enough to carry off my baby!!

No matter how "cool" they are, I still do not find them very endearing!!

Sprittibee said...

Till - Now we're talkin! I loooove spiders. I photograph them myself. That's why I am so awed by this photo in particular. Thanks for the other info. My son will enjoy reading it. He just loves the part on "Lord of the Rings" where Froto gets injected with spider venom. I don't mind reading blogs by athiests at all... however I don't do it that often. Thanks for the congrats and thanks again for commenting on other things than the "hot" topic of late.

Phyllis - You wrote: "former texan, texan at heart"... I would have to say that there is no such thing as a former Texan. ;) Once a Texan, always a Texan. You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl. ;) I was born and raised there and am a temporary transplant elsewhere currently. Always trying to find my dusty trail that will lead back home... even though I'll be leaving behind wonderful friends here and lovely scenery... no hard feelings.

We actually had really large wolf spiders on our front porch often at our last house. I took a few photos of "Mr. Bigs" as the kids affectionately called 'him'... but then Mr. Bigs hatched a zillion little babies and carried them on 'his' back... indicating that Mr. Bigs was really Mrs. Bigs!

Sheri said...

MOST impressive Kaden!

FatcatPaulanne said...

It's very fun when the kids drop those words into a conversation, isn't it? My youngest, one day, explained photosynthesis and the action of chlorophyll to his grandparents! Thanks Konos!

Anonymous said...

Ewwww, I was surprised by wolf spiders here in Orlando also! They are so huge and scary looking. Don't care for spiders myself and rarely saw them since I come from MN! They die quickly there in the cold. Way to go Kaden and KONOS and of course, congrats to mom for all her hard work and diligence to homeschool. Not everyone is up for the job! Sue in Orlando FL

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Sheri. :)

Fatcatpaulanne - yes, it's fun to hear them talking with more linguistic fortitude than their predecessors. ;) YEAH Konos! I am a member of the VRP... they are linked in my sidebar. If you love words, maybe you should Czech-'em-out! It's always nice when the smart-talk happens in front of your worst critics, eh?!

Sue - Awwww... don't worry about the spiders. There are only two in Texas that are really bad: Black Widow and Brown Recluse. It isn't common that they will bite, though. Wasps are plenty in Texas also (and they are the spider's natural enemy). In our "Texas Bug Book", it says that a man found a mud dauber's nest in an old bee box that was in storage. When he counted all the spiders that the dauber had killed and saved to eat, he discovered there were 71! Of those, only 11 of them were NOT Black Widows! So, be kind to your mud dauber friends and know that they are doing God's work in your lawn and around your house (protecting you from having too many black widows around).



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