Sunday 26 February 2012

Spiny Orb-weaver Party!

Image: Sam Fraser-Smith via Flickr
Hi! So glad you could make it!

*mwah* *mwah*

You look gorgeous, darling!

Welcome to our little Gasteracantha party! Here you will find some of the most fabulous and outrageously dressed members of the genus. They are commonly known as Spiny Orb-weavers, which is fine if you're common, but you're with the in-crowd now, darling!

There's Gasteracantha cancriformis showing off her morbid fascination with skulls and blood. It's always good to express yourself! It's... usually good to express yourself. She comes from southern USA, Central America and several Caribbean Islands, but it doesn't look like the journey burned any calories, does it? I suppose one must always carry a reminder of the ever-present prospect of death when one becomes quite that spherical. Oh, here she comes...

Hello, darling!

*mwah* *mwah*

We were just talking about how fabulous you look! Tell me, have you lost weight?

Image: Pen Araneae via Flickr
Gasteracantha sp.
Texture darling, texture. It's not all about colours you know! Gasteracantha are all very tiny spiders but carefully applied thorns can really give the illusion of extra width, which is very fashionable these days. This one measures 2 cm (0.8 in) across from spike tip to spike tip, and the biggest ones are scarcely any bigger.

The whole affair is as tough as a shell, as well as providing a solid foundation upon which to apply your adornments and accessories. Some think it protects them from predators like small birds and lizards, too. I don't doubt it! I wouldn't be seen DEAD in a bird's mouth! In fact, I'd only EVER be seen in a bird's mouth if I WAS dead!

Remember, darling, fashion saves lives!

Image: Nick Hobgood via Flickr
Gasteracantha falcicornis
Buddhist, Hindu, RaĆ«lian... all non-Scientologists are welcome here! Even strident, outspoken Luciferians can come along so long as they leave their rituals at the door. There are no isms in fashion, darling! This... Wait a minute...

Image: Nick Hobgood via Flickr
Yes! It's Fungus the Bogeyman Hell! This beauty is found in southern Africa, eastern Africa and Bogeyman Hell.

Image: Nick Hobgood via Flickr
Gasteracantha sp.
Hailing from Congo, this sweetheart has chosen to mix a macabre purple with vibrant yellow. She has even longer horns than the last one! I don't really know my demonology... will there be trouble between those two? I do hope not. We can certainly do without Dark Lords arising from Realms Unknown and upsetting the drinks. We have a huge table of dead fruit flies in the shape of one, gigantic, dead fruit fly to be brought in later, and I would rather it not be ruined by Dark Magicks thank you very much!

Image: kibuyu via Flickr
Gasteracantha versicolor
It's always nice to see a Gasteracantha feel comfortable about expressing her femininity! The "pink bow" kind of femininity I mean, not the "eat your boyfriend if he doesn't measure up" kind.

But doesn't she look adorable? Oh! Like a pretty little princess! She comes from the southern half of Africa and I bet she has lots of My Little Pony there! But you must remember that no matter how cute she may look, she's still a Gasteracantha. Don't get on the wrong side of her. Always make sure they can't overhear when you talk about them.

Image: Robert Whyte via Flickr
Gasteracantha fornicata
Oh! This is a real sweetie! I really mean sweet, as in she looks like a caramel and vanilla ice-cream flavoured sweet. I just want to eat her aaaall up! But then I see those spikes and I realise I can't. And even knowing this, I still want to eat her aaaall up! Thus, fashion clarifies the tragedy of the human condition. The answer? More fashion! And sweets. This intellectual comes from Queensland in Australia. They could've named the place after her!

Image: Pen Araneae via Flickr
Gasteracantha mammosa
This one looks significantly less edible. Did she want to look some sort of cappuccino chocolate or is she more camouflaged as a small blob of poo? Is this more philoso-fashion? Because it's going right over my head. She comes from Madagascar and southern Asia and has lots of other outfits to choose from. All of which look a bit like poo. Uh oh! She's coming this way!

Hello, darling!

*mwah* *mwah*

We were just talking about how... unique... you look. SO much better than G. Versicolor with all that pink, I don't know WHAT she was thinking!

What's that?

Hmmm. She says she isn't really a Gasteracantha at all, but was quite recently placed in a whole new genus all of her own! She is now an only, lonely Thelacantha brevispina, a close relative, but not really IN. Oh dear, the vagaries of taxonomy. Although it does explain a lot. Ah well, what's a party without hangers-on? Of course she can stay! We have lots more glasses of haemolymph to go round!

Image: Felix Wayne
Gasteracantha sapperi
Oh darling! Those little orange knees? I love, love, love it! And what about those tiny, exquisitely shaped spikes! Her fashionably tiny face and fashionably tiny eyes are fashionably dwarfed by her huge abdomen that looks like one of those gorgeous French wigs. It's just that the theme looks like thorns caked in blood rather than boats. This beauty comes from New Guinea and shows us a whole new sense of style. Remember, fashion knows no borders!

Image source
Gasteracantha arcuata
Oh dear. There's always one, isn't there? Flamboyance is one thing but this... maybe I'm getting too old but surely this is just ridiculous! How can she even walk with those things?

This southeast Asian personage has spikes several times longer than her body! There's enough space for her gentleman friend to build his own little web and travel with her wherever she goes. Good Lord, I dread to think... I'm not one to gossip, so I can't say I've heard anyone say she actually does such a thing, but we're clearly dealing with a desperate exhibitionist here! Who knows what she's capable of?

Image: Pen Araneae via Flickr
Gasteracantha sp.
When all else fails, the Little Black Dress will never let you down, darling!


Anonymous said...

That first one is amazing. Reminds me of a red spike bracelet I wore in college.

TexWisGirl said...

wow! crazy, crab-like critters!

Joseph JG said... It's fantastic!

@TexWisGirl: Yeh, it's great that we have this lunacy in the world!

Anonymous said...

I have never thought that spiders could look this good! Well they are still spiders, are they not?

Joseph JG said...

They look amazing! I was quite stunned, myself. Yes they're spiders, just with extra accessories.

ElBandito said...

Hey! I've been lurking here for a couple of weeks after finding your blog (via the really awesome pics), and seriously, I gotta say that the spiders look out of this world! I've never seen such cool-looking specimens (seriously, evolution works in seriously mysterious ways). The writing style of this article is also great and fit for laughs, I had to send this off to everybody I know after reading this!

Joseph JG said...

Aww, shucks! Thanks, ElBandito! I have to admit, I had a lot of fun writing it. Thanks a lot for sharing with your friends and making me smile with your kind words, much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how did I miss THIS post? These are GORGEOUS! Almost pretty enough to make me wish they lived up here in the cold, dreary, wet Pacific Northwest...but I think my arachnophobic mate would die if he saw a photo of one, much less the real thing.

Joseph JG said...

They're amazing, aren't they? Glad you didn't miss it for too long!

Anonymous said...

The itsy bitsy mostrosity went up the water spout

Joseph JG said...

Yet more territory conquered by the monstrous!

Unknown said...
Visit my Instagram because I Saw this beautiful thing to on Tanjung Puting National Park (Central Kalimantan,Indonesia-Borneo)

Joseph JG said...

Wow! Looks lovely!