Thursday, November 02, 2006

Octavia's Victory Wrap

Blogger is being wonky and won't let me upload pictures. Again. So if you'd like to see the photos that go with today's post just click this link to my Photobucket Slideshow. The photos load at three second intervals. If you enjoy being creeped out by the ongoing Octavia saga, these shots won't disappoint.

It’s days like yesterday that make me glad that I'm a writer. Because if I had a real job and was out doing that instead of being here writing then I would have missed the Spectacular Nature Drama that unfolded in my greenhouse.

Octavia - the giant golden silk spider who lives in my orchid room - feeds about every other day. She’ll eat anything, and her diet has even included other spiders. Recently, another spider - after laying her own egg sac - tried to eat Octavia. But the Reigning Arachnid Queen of the Greenhouse Realm wasn't having it. Instead, Octavia raised her legs in a truly intimidating threat display and vanquished her would-be opponent, who went away and - too weak to build another web - died.

After Octavia eats, she leaves her web and just spins enough silk to hang out in the corner. When she’s ready to dine again she builds an elaborate prey web. Yesterday she built one in front of the door between the orchid room and the playroom. When Larry came home for lunch, he brought Octavia lunch, too - a giant locust.

Octavia has had locusts before, but none this large. Or strong. This one refused to go gently into that good night. Pardon the pun, but it got the jump on her and bit her just as she bit him. If you’ve ever seen a locust you know what big mandibles they have, and Octavia was clearly wounded. If you look at the photo of her biting the locust, you can see a droplet of spider blood on the side of her head.

I almost had a heart attack, for I adore Octavia. But I didn’t feel that intervening was the right thing to do, since if she didn’t vanquish the grasshopper she’d likely refuse to eat again.
Octavia retreated and waited as the locust slowly succumbed to the paralyzing poison. As she sat there, ocasionally she’d raise a graceful leg to wipe away the droplets of blood that kept oozing from her wound.

Ever so often she’d stop and go tap her victim. If he moved too vigorously she’d back up. And wait some more. She's very patient. Finally, when the locust could only barely wiggle one leg, she descended on him.

Over the next hour or so, she fed, stopping occasionally to wrap her meal in silk, and each time I checked in I noticed she was in a different position. Sometimes she was under her prey, sometimes on top. slowly draining him. And there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.

Is it me, or is there something sexy about spiders in a female vampire sort of way?


CJ said...

So I was going to have a nice cream filled donut while reading your post. Now the thought of eating makes me a little ill. Those are creepy pictures. And no I don't think spiders are sexy. You scare me Morgan.

Anonymous said...

I think it's you...

sammyray said...

Morgan, I think you should have posted this on Halloween. CREEPY!

Morgan said...

CJ, I'll consider that a compliment. Ditto to anon.
Sammyray, the Great Spider Locust Showdown sadly happened to late for a Halloween post. But you're right; it would have made a good one.

Morgan said...

And you know, Invid, somewhere out there I'm sure there's someone else who finds the idea of immobilizing a guy with silk just a wee bit erotic.

Bobbb - Citizen of Earth said...

Funny you should mention...

Tales of conquest and survival
On the scale of the very small!
It’s life: without pretense or denial
It’s not creepy at all

I’m not sure how sexy it is
The death part is a real turn off for me

But the image of a woman with strength, power and control,
And the idea of surrendering and giving myself up to her webs of silk?
You might be on to something there…
Just skip the death part ok?
And give me a turn as the web spinner next time

As far as being squeamish
No one who eats meat should have a problem here
The scene at the slaughterhouse that provides your chops and hamburger makes Octavia’s web look like romper room.
Studies show that even the vegetables demonstrate some kind of awareness at the moment of their demise.

Funny that so many people can be squeamish about death in a spider’s web
Yet support a war where we send our children overseas
To kill, or be killed, often in horrific and inhuman ways.
Out of sight, out of mind, while humanity weeps for us all.

Nothing personal, no accusations against anyone here
I’m just thinking out loud

Morgan said...

Bobb, the death part isn't what turns me on. I've no desire to actually snuff my partner, but there's nothing wrong with making use of the silk ties so long as no one gets hurt. And I like your quid pro quo philosophy. My kind of guy.

Morgan said...

Bobb, Your comments about people being squeamish over a spider's feeding but not squeamish over slaughterhouses and war were provocative but appropos to our condition.

I think the human race has and will always shrug off any carnage it can justify. A couple who picks up packaged meat just sees dinner for the night, not the suffering of the terrified animal herded into a chute, blugeoned and then hauled up so its throat could be slit while it was still stunned. The couple will merely tell you their kids need food to survive.
Foreign war dead? Again, the "enemy" is like the cow, a necessary casualty in our struggle to "survive."

I think that's another thing I like about Octavia. She has no agenda. She just kills because it's what she does. She has no alternative, no other path. We do but refuse to take it. When I consider this fact, I believe spiders superior to humans.

Anonymous said...

I suppose we could go back to running our prey down and sticking it multiple times with spears but I'll stick with the factory provided stuff (until I can afford more naturally provided meats etc.).
I think that human carnage is a real waste and difficult to justify (I don't gloat over dead children so I'm not a favorite over at Bane's). I believe in the "person standing before me trying to kill me is my enemy" concept and think we should leave the person minding their own business alone.
-- Invid

Morgan said...


I hear what you're saying and I have no cause to lecture because although I don't eat a lot of mean I'm not a vegeterian either. Yes, buying meat in a store is much more convenient and has the added benefit of keeping us several steps removed from what it was before it came to sit on our plates.

Bane's take on killing children is pretty typical of "pro-lifers." I've talked to quite a few who love the idea of saving little white babies in the womb but giggle like joyful demons over the notion of dead little brown babies outside the womb.

The kind of blind hatred Bane exhibits explains why his life has become a train wreck on so many levels. He poisons himself a little more each day.

That Cleaning Lady said...

Wow what amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing, creepy tho they may be. I sure appreciate the time and effort it takes you to get those pictures. I love what cj said about losing the appetite for sucking cream out of a donut!!

Morgan said...

I do love my Octavia and could photograph her for hours. It's not that time intensive; selecting which photos to use actually takes longer. I can shoot 200 photos before I've realized it.
But it's worth it to me that you and the other readers like them, and I did sell some of my pictures, so it's worth it.
Your posting here reminds me. I want to put a link here to your blog. Do you mind?