Monday, June 30, 2008

Argiope aurantia

It's summer - and spider season in Texas!

At this time every year, spiders invade our home and spin tiny little webs all over the place. It really freaked me out the first year, because I found these webs everywhere, appearing overnight - mostly along the floor where the floor meets the wall.

Though these spiders are harmless and just want a little space to fulfill their destinies, and have as much of a right to be in this space as I do, I embark each weekend on a mission to acquire bad karma and suck up large numbers of these little creatures with my vacuum cleaner.

However, I found this gorgeous spider outside our house last week with the most interesting design on her web - like Zorro with a stutter. She is Argiope aurantia or the Writing Spider, and is about 3" long, with pretty black and yellow markings.

I check on her each morning and evening, and marvel at how lovely she is.

This got me thinking ... I would definitely not vacuum up this beautiful spider. Then how come I don't think twice about sucking up with my vacuum cleaner, all her tinier relatives that live inside my home?

Do I discriminate based on size?? Are smaller spiders more expendable?

What is the lower limit on size for me, below which I wouldn't take extra care to not kill the creature??

Can I then honestly fault someone who thinks it's ok to shoot deer or hunt bears? Maybe their lower limit is just higher than my own?

Disturbing ...


Shreyas said...

chithi i think u need to see a psychologist... u just said that a Beautiful!!!
this disgusting behaviour will not be tolerated for much longer.
at our house we only put up with large mammals- no insects, no rats, but the occasional bear is ok.
anyhoo...say 'happy birthday' to rags chithappa for me.
im 2 days away from the end of term and exams!

Raghav said...


Have you seen "A bug's life"? Or "Antz"?

I'm sure you loved those movies. So if you think about the families that the insects might have (which we don't know that they don't) imagine how depressed a spider baby would feel if you killed its mummy.

Whaddya say?


Ganesh Venkittu said...

I dont have any answers to your intriguing questions - best left to be answered by you I guess..

but this whole episode made me to reminisce about what happened in the first day of tamil class in MCC...needless to say N.Ganesh was next to me.

the tamil prof came in...and during the lecture, asked to name a few "Azhwars"....mind you, its the first day, first class....

N.Ganesh put up his hand...and when the prof said "go ahead", he said பேயாழ்வார், பூதத்தாழ்வார் ( pei ahwar, boothathaazhwar)..

the stunned prof said -- "ஏம்பா, முதல் நாளே பயமுறுத்தறியே" ( hi man, you are scaring me on first day )

like that -- on the 3rd blog or so, you are talking about "scary" stuff...Sanju likes them, but sarvesh/me -- we are SCARED to nth power...

winston salem

bindu said...

hey Shreyu, maybe it's time to change the policy on insects in your house ... Maya will not like me for this! :)

hey Ganesh,
Thanks for your post. I can imagine NG coming up with that. :) Actually, there was a movie, Charlotte's Web - which helped me think about spiders differently. Boys in your home have something to learn from the girls!! :)

Shreyas said...

they are bugs. they do not have feelings.
And as for the 'antz' and 'a bug's life' scenarios, im sure that there are so many little bugs that they won't even notice the dead ones.
I repeat, this disgusting empathy for creatures without feelings will not be tolerated. If you do not refrain, i will be forced to report you to John McGain and the Republican NeoCons, who will then explode you.
Happy birthday chithappa...what did you get/do?

Raghav said...


So at what point in the animal kingdom do creatures start having feelings? Fishes? Amphibians? Birds? Mammals?

Sydney said...

Feelings or no, it is a life.

I have been wrestling with this same respect for ALL life issue... so do I never swat a mosquito then? Then I remember that in nature, animals and insects are far more brutal to each other in playing their part in the food chain. And it's not just about eating which is needed to survive, and can be argued away. They get ill and have no doctors, etc

If anything we humans hopefully make up for a little spider vacuuming karma by all the work we do to help and rescue animals, plants, as individuals etc... I know you do a lot of that. So I hope for some kind of balance... :-)