Hard To Look At?

Argiope with sulphur prey photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

August brings new denizens in wild habitat. Photographers of wildlife need no reminder that this is the month when Argiopes and Orb Weavers appear. We had better remember this or we will walk into their huge webs, and find these Big spiders scrambling down our shoulders or backs, determined to flee from us as quickly as they can. I still remember when this happened to me on this trip down to Georgia. Last year, I joked that I field discovered that Georgia spider web proteins and Pennsylvania spider web proteins . . . tasted exactly alike!

Butterflies produce large numbers of offspring, raising questions such as, why then, don’t we see more butterflies about? An answer is provided in this image. This sleepy orange butterfly miscalculated. As soon as it flew into the web filaments, it stuck to them. This female, Black and Yellow Argiope spider felt the web vibrating, and sped down the web, to the hapless yellow. Here, she has arrived, and speedily circles the butterfly, ‘throwing’ web filaments around the yellow, as the spider circles its prey, over and over again.

Totally ensnared, the Argiope then rushed the butterfly, and sunk her fangs into it, paralyzing it into passivity.

Spiders, wasps, birds, mantids, lizards, snakes and others hunt for butterflies, and that is part of the Plan. This Plan has worked well for millennia, well before we came along to witness it, and cringe, when we see winged beauties become food for predators.

Jeff

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