Archive for December 20th, 2010

Last night, Jim was rummaging around in the Thai chili pepper plant that we brought in from the patio this fall because he wanted some heat for the salsa he was creating.

While he was in there he noticed that there were a few flying creatures around.  He was inspecting for aphids too, because we do have problems with them hitching a ride on the indoor/outdoor plants when we bring them in before frost.

I heard him ooh-ing and aah-ing and cooing at something.   Presently, he told me to come over and have a look at what he had found.  It seems that one of the garden spiders left an egg case in the pepper plant, and the little spiderlings have hatched out just in time to be ornaments for it.  I went over and peered into the depths of the pepper plant.

After a while, I spotted the tiniest little spider hatchling ever back on one of the leaves.   Good thing I had my glasses on; it might have been better if I’d also had a microscope.   You can see it too, barely, crouched on a leaf above and behind the blossom in the foreground.

Then I saw another one.

It’s that little beige spot behind the pepper.  I know.   You can barely see it.   It’s truly teensy.   Even itsy bitsy.

After I viewed these images, I got another camera and tried again.   The flash helped.

I’m sure that there is no way to imagine what all this experience was like for the little spiders.   They were very excited, and did not really like being looked or flashed at.   They would try to escape by abseiling (or rappelling, take your pick) off their perch.  I actually managed to catch one in the act, poised in the air at the bottom of the drop.

They are very fast, these little spiders.   They could climb back up into their nest at the apical meristem of the plant in less than a second.   Finally one miscalculated the drop and landed in the palm of my hand.   In spite of the fact that it was in my hand, I still had a hard time getting this little guy in focus because he was moving so fast across the vast plain of my palm that the camera could not focus and then shoot before he was out of the focal point.

The really great thing about this situation is that when you check out the pepper plant, there isn’t an aphid to be seen.   And most of the little flying bugs are being eaten too.

It’s all good.


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