Thursday, August 7, 2008

Spider Lily and Robberflies

Yesterday after school I took off to one of my favorite hiking areas in Oak Ridge. I wanted to see if the Spider Lily flowers were in bloom. The first group of plants had been pretty badly trampled. Fortunately, the one that had buds was still in good shape, so it should bloom early next week. I knew of one other location where they grow, I went there and found 3 plants in full bloom. The flowers are quite large, about 6" across. I know of no other flowers in this area that look like them, so they are very easy to identify. This picture was tricky to take, I had to stand on a rotten log that had fallen into the lake and hoped I didn't fall off!

The robberflies caught my attention because they were flying "attached"! I watched to see where they landed, luckily it was on a branch nearby. Robberflies eat other insects with their piercing mouthparts.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Arachnid Birth Announcement!

Sometime during the wee hours of Aug. 3, 2008 Arachne's first egg case hatched! She is now the mother of a couple hundred babies (I'm not sure how "proud" she is, she seems to be ignoring them!). I noticed the egg case was on the floor of her enclosure this morning and then I saw the babies hanging on the web. It was interesting to see that they are dark orange with a black spot on the abdomen, I had thought they would be black like their mom. I assume the spiderlings with the larger abdomens are females and the ones with the longer, thinner ones are males. It would be interesting to keep them for a couple of days and see how they develop, however baby spiders don't make good brothers and sisters --- they eat each other! Later today I will take them far out into the woods where they can live but not be a threat to anyone.