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Friday, June 21, 2013

Oxyopes Bimanous in the Garden

There’s this particular variety of spider in the garden that I have always seen on either the jasmine bush or the leaves of the purple kolambi flower, forelegs raised and ready to strike. Thanks to a chance discovery, one that happened more as a result of lazy curiosity than intense research, I found the South Indian Spiders website. Now that my interest was piqued a quick look around led me to this name with an image that seemed to match the specimen in the collage above. And finally, I knew what to call it, but not really when to predict my next chance meeting with it.

I just love the colors that this variety of spider sports, along with that killer pose with the raised forelegs, like an arachnid martial artist. It’s almost as if he’s ready to spar, no matter, when, where or what the size difference, judging by the fact that he’s doing it in this picture with the camera looming over him and the flash possibly blinding all of his poor eyes. Although not mentioned in the brief description of the spider on the table of spiders at South Indian Spiders, I’m guessing that the “Bimanous” in its Latin name refers to this precise, more-fight-than-flight posture that it so readily adopts.

In spite of this pugnacious nature, perhaps real or imagined, it has yet to be seen by me (or perhaps researched a little more, but this is one of the most immediate shortcomings of “lazy research”) that this spider is any way more aggressive than the average jumping spider. On the contrary, its slightly raised head that leads down to an elongated visage gives it an almost sage-like appearance, like instead of the arms being raised for combat, pardon the anthropomorphizing, they are raised in a sort of dual blessing, a most beatific pose to strike.

Here’s hoping to see much more of this guy, because there are already a couple of spiders (like this one) that I haven’t seen in a couple of years since I first photographed them in this very garden, leading to some sort of very localized extinction, at least in terms of this little garden and the house. Happens all the time, I’m sure, but a loss, no matter how infinitesimal, is still felt, is it not?

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