A Glimpse at a Spider’s World

by Ryan Weaver | Jun 4, 2022 | 0 comments

Jumping spider
Jumping spider. Photo © Dreamstime.com.

It was a pleasant late-summer day. I was helping my sister with the chores. We have a number of animals, so she appreciates help. Having finished my responsibility, I started walking toward the house, but a little something caught my attention. A tiny jumping spider was staking its claim on the top of a wooden fence post. Its colors were set in an amazing pattern of white and brown with trace amounts of other colors. I have studied various spiders, but this was the first time I had seen one like this. It never ceases to amaze me how beautifully intricate the design of even a creepy crawly can be. I studied its designs, amazed at the combination of colors more worthy of display than most artwork (or at least any of my artwork).

I moved a little closer. At about 1 foot (30 cm) away, the spider finally detected my presence. It darted around the fence post out of my line of view. Intrigued by the tiny arachnid, I followed it around the post. I pointed it out to my sister who had just come out of the barn. We stood there watching the spider, which seemed uncertain what to do. Out of curiosity, I picked up a little twig and touched it to the fence post to see what the spider would do. The spider, which was now on top of the post, turned, facing the intruding stick with his eight jet black eyes, and stood poised and motionless.

I moved the stick a little closer. The spider reared up with its front legs held high in a threatening stance. It seemed ludicrous to me that this little spider, smaller than my fingernail, would challenge me who was well over a thousand times his size. It seemed determined to defend its little world on top of the fence post at all costs. So rather than disrupting its small-scale life with a conflict that would be anything but fair, I retreated with my stick and simply observed.

My narrowed eyes caught an even smaller spider shaded a perfect brown to match the fence post. It was a few inches lower on the post and headed for the plateau at the top. I watched expectantly, curious how the exchange might unfold. The smaller brown spider crested the ledge, still oblivious to the spider twice its size. The bigger spider, however, was poised, shifting its position to face the trespasser as it crawled around the edge of the post.

Then it got too close. The larger spider bluff-charged, stopping a ½ inch (12 mm) short. The warning was more than sufficient to intimidate the intruder off of his property. The monarch again dominated its four-inch round empire. The small brown spider scurried away down the post, probably prone to be more careful in the future.

My sister and I walked on down the fencerow toward the house, stopping and peering at each fence post. Almost every one had a little spider exploring its splinters. Some posts had just one; others had many. I tend to suspect the posts with just one spider possibly contained the more arrogant spiders. Diversity of shape, color, and species was not lacking. I found it curious that the spiders never seemed to notice me until I was within a foot of them. Apparently they don’t have an extended perception zone. Or maybe I just wasn’t deemed a threat until I came that close. Even the jumping spiders with their large eyes didn’t seemed to notice me until I got quite close.

After a few more posts, I happened upon a beige brown spider defending his post top.

Down farther, I also saw a roly poly bug. It was about to make the same unanticipated mistake the little brown spider had been educated on moments earlier. It innocently crawled up, but barely made it over the top edge before meeting the agitated advance of the spider on top. Needless to say, the roly poly departed faster than it had come, albeit possibly a little wiser.

As I slowly passed the rest of the posts on the way to the house, I thought about what had happened. This experience prompted me to think in the perspective of a tiny animal and also to realize that beauty and creativity are prevalent on every scale of God’s creation. I got a glimpse into a perspective of a small world within mine and realized that nature is amazing even when one looks with the eyes of a tiny spider.

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