You know your host is bach-ing it when…

Partially eaten dessert.
Partially eaten dessert.

A couple of days ago we played some Bridge with Norm and Howard. Norm is the guy that started us playing. We’re grateful to him for taking us on as a project. To thank him for his help Burt made dinner. Norm’s a bachelor this month. His wife is visiting her 93 year old mother in Sweden. Roxanne does most of the cooking. Norm says she left him a bunch of pre-made meals but he can’t find them. Talk about helpless. After a few hours of cards Burt whipped out some fish Vera Cruz. The cards were okay but dinner was very good. A fresh fish in tomato and orange and olive sauce over brown rice. Beet salad was on the side. Immediately after eating Howard, Burt, and I bade Norm good night. It had been a long day. Half way down the driveway we heard Norm yelling. “Wait, wait…I forgot I have dessert! I have a danish, and a half a donut, and a piece of cake with three bites out of it.” Unable to resist such a tempting offer the three of us turned around to see. How could we resist such salesmanship? Much to our surprise Norm had accurately described his dessert offering. There it was. A half a donut. A danish. And a piece of cake with three bites previously removed. The fork marks were still visible.

Signalling in Bridge is illegal. This means loser.
Signaling in Bridge is illegal. This means I am a loser.
Huntsman spider at Bridge. Notice the flat egg sac and perhaps her boyfriend.
Huntsman spider at Bridge. Notice the flat egg sac and perhaps her boyfriend.
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Hand out the cigars!

Green Lynx Spider
Green Lynx Spider and spiderlings

Weeks of regularly checking in finally paid off with seeing the newly hatched spiderlings. This ferocious mama arachnid charged me twice while I took photos. Green Lynx are known to be very attentive and protective of their spriderlings. Some mothers starve to death keeping watch over their egg sacs. This individual did very well. She was observed with a buggy feast just a couple of days before the big debut of her many, many babies. Some unlucky bug wandered too close.

Over the course of studying this lynx spider I discovered that this spider is also a chameleon and changes its color, much like the crab spider. Over the course of a couple of weeks they can change from bright green to orange or purple or, as seen here, off white. Our specimen matches her habitat very nicely. The spiderlings are also very well camouflaged. The spiderlings will hang around with mom until their first molt (shedding of skin) then they well send out parachutes of silk and fly away on the breeze to make a life of their own. It seems so improbable that any survive. I plan to check in again and see if I can catch a picture post-molt but pre-flight.

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Arachnophobia

Spiders and Their Kin
Spiders and Their Kin

My two days volunteering at the Cave Creek Visitor Information Center were passed practicing fiddle, reading the NY Times, advising visitors and inventorying the arachnids.

Friday was a complete bust. There was not a single visitor to the VIC. This lack of distraction resulted in my reading every last bit of NY Times I had with me so when Saturday came I was forced to read the on-site reference materials. I started with Venomous Animals of Arizona. This thirty year old publication is hilarious. I recommend it. Sexual habits of the dangerous creature amongst us are relayed with clarity and good humor. It explains the role of each potentially noxious or even deadly creature in our ecosystem and almost always advises to leave the creatures in peace. Bed bugs and black widows, excepting. In between my reading about bedbugs and rattlesnakes and kissing bugs I handled the visits of 23 persons. I was so inspired by the book I was able to wander around and take a closer look at the spiders living on the VIC. I discovered 7 species in just 20 minutes. I sought another reference volume to try and identify my VIC companions but found reading a book with page after page of spiders made me nauseous. I have not completely come to terms with arachnids.

So, probably you won’t find a copy of Venomous Animals of Arizona in your local library. Here’s a summary of the mating of bedbugs. The male takes his ‘scimitar’ shaped penis and lances the females abdomen. He completely ignores the fact that she has genitals. The male rips a hole in her belly and inserts his sperm into the abdominal cavity. The sperm travel to the reproductive organs of the female. She lays the fertilized eggs through the usual manner, they are deposited from her heretofore unused gentials. I presume the gaping wound in her belly heals.

Spider Anatomy
Spider Anatomy
Spider and egg sac
Spider and egg sac
more spider
more spider
Jumping Spider
Jumping Spider
Jumping Spider
Jumping Spider
Spider
Spider
Orb Weaver
Orb Weaver
Profile of Orb Weaver
Profile of Orb Weaver
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