Last Saturday afternoon, I noticed a large spider building a web in the Back 40. I named her Charlotte because I’m a big fan of pigs. She was about 3/4’s inch long from tip to tip, somewhere around an inch when her legs were stretched. That’s a big spider for Brooklyn, innit?
Using one of the four steel columns that supports the balcony above, and two clay pots on the cement, she quickly spun an orb web over a foot in diameter. She had been hanging out smack-dab in the center of this web except for those times she was spooked -- like by a lumbering homind -- when she rushed up to the safety of the balcony.
Another large spider appeared Saturday afternoon. This one came down to Charlotte’s web and was promptly shooed off. And hasn’t been seen since. They’re not identical, but look fairly similar: was one male, the other female?
This is Charlotte from the underside. Yesterday, in the forty-five minutes I was away from the house during lunch, she caught something in the web and wrapped it tighter than a mummy in spidersilk. I had been worrying, and wondering how long can they go without feeding. It must be either feast or famine. And what a crapshoot! I’ve got various flies, ankle-biting mosquitoes out the ying-yang, beetles (a lady bug was snagged by the house spider by the window a couple of weeks ago) and other arthropods out there constantly, but little seems to have run into a sticky death at the fangs of Ms. C.
This morning, I regret to say, the web was largely gone, with just a few scrapes hanging about loosely. Charlotte was nowhere to be seen and has not been seen since. I fear the worst. I wonder what happened.