Charlotte Has A Big Day
A day in the life of a Black and Yellow Argiope [aka..Common Garden Spider]
Here's a shot you don't get every day! Charlotte and her mate from a very interesting angle. (The top.) I actually had the lens of the camera IN the web to get this photo...but when I brought the pics up on the computer, I wasn't totally satisfied with the quality.....so I went back out to try for a better shot. This was taken with the Canon Powershot S3, and I decided to try my back-up camera....my ELPH. Sometimes the Digital Macro on the ELPH gets a better shot........

....but when I approached Charlotte and her hubby....THIS is the horrible site that awaited me! Oooooh NOOOOOO! Something has killed Charlotte!! What could have HAPPENED to my spider??
I couldn't imagine what could have turned Charlotte into a limp mass of legs, until I looked above her and saw her cast off skin hanging in her web above her. She had done this very fast, as I had only taken the first photo on this page a short time earlier...and the effort obviously had taken a lot out of her. What a photo op this was! I had seen many a discarded spider suit, but had never seen what a trauma it caused the spider.

As I took these shots, MISTER Charlotte kept going back and forth between the shed skin and his pitiful looking mate....as if he was trying to help her. In the above right-hand photo, it looks as if he's trying to hold her hands...all 8 of them.
After a while, Charlotte began to move a little, but then she assumed that Dead Spider Position one usually sees after they have stomped one flat. I'm not sure which way SHE looked worse, but the pictures I was getting with the ELPH were definitely not as good as the S3's shots...so at this point I changed cameras again.
.
Whuzzisname comes back down to offer help again.
The Dead and Dangly Act was freaking both of us out. Mr. Charlotte seems to be helping his mate swing over and get her feet secured in the web.
Success! Charlotte now has a secure grip on her web. Notice the thickness of the web material she is hanging from....quite unlike the slender, silken threads that make up her home, this heavy-duty 'rope' must have been fashioned to be a 'life-line' to keep her fat body from falling as she went through the ordeal of shedding her skin. As Charlotte is less than half the size of a full-grown Argiope, this process will take place again and again....but I may never have another shot at watching the aftermath again. (Pun intended.) Rest assured....I WILL be keeping an eye on her. Perhaps I'll get to see the whole process, from beginning to end.
Charlotte seems to be almost back to normal now....and somewhat larger than she was this morning. In this photo you can see that her home-made life-line has been discarded.
Charlotte seems to be telling me she has had quite enough of my interferrence, and would like me to back off now.
All's well that ends well.
The End(s).
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