Posted by: dave | March 27, 2015

Leaf-curling spiders!

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Otis is obsessed with them! They’re a species common in suburban Sydney gardens with a very distinctive signature: once their web is spun, they haul a leaf into its centre and twine gossamer around it tighter and tighter, till it curls into a little burrow in which they can hide.

Otis is at that age where he really wants to get out and explore in the mornings. It must be a wonderful time when you’re relatively newly mobile and able to discover all sorts of new things. We make sure the front gate is latched and let him explore to his heart’s content.

One of his favourite activities, illustrated above, is pointing out leaf-curling spiders. He wants us to see them; and I think he’s a little unsettled by them. It’s not because he’s scared of spiders, I think. Sometimes, I grab a twig and poke the centre of the web: he watches quite calmly as a bundle of legs is pushed tentatively out for a moment, then withdrawn with a shy twitch.

I think what captivates him is the uncanny appearance of the nests, the way the leaves hang motionless in mid-air, supported by their imperceptible threads. It must seem extraordinary to a child who hasn’t yet discovered how strong invisible things can be.

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