TCS: A Noiseless Patient Spider

Good Morning!

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Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum, so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.
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A Noiseless Patient Spider

by Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

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When record rains flooded Launceston, the second-largest city in Australia’s state of Tasmania, the local small black spiders staged a “mass ballooning event” to keep above the rising floodwaters. They coated the foliage of trees with enormous blankets of silk, over an area of about a half a mile.

Local resident Ken Puccetti, who photographed the webs, told Guardian Australia that the silk was so dense his attempts to photograph it ended with his shoes, legs, and arms covered with silk — and the occasional spider.

The rally of high-flying spiders sent out masses of silk strands, which act “a little bit like a hot-air balloon,” according to University of Akron arachnologist Todd Blackledge, which is where the name for the event came from. The spiders then ride the silk where the wind takes them. This method is used by the spiders to evacuate suddenly inhospitable areas, but also to migrate, keeping their population from becoming too dense in one area.

In 2012, spiderwebs blanketed the countryside of Wagga Wagga, in eastern Australia, after a week of record rain forced the spiders — and 13,000 people — to flee their homes. Mass ballooning events have been recorded not only in Australia, but in United States, Great Britain and Pakistan.

Robert Matthews, professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Georgia, says that silk has been a “huge evolutionary breakthrough. This is one more example of why spiders have been a successful group.”

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We might learn something from these resilient spiders.

Considering our planet’s rising oceans, perhaps we should start including skydiving equipment in emergency survival kits.

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Sources

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Your TCS author is a bit under the weather, so this is a reprint from 2016.

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband and a bewildered Border Collie.
This entry was posted in Biology, Poetry, The Coffee Shop, Walt Whitman and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to TCS: A Noiseless Patient Spider

  1. pramegha says:

    That was really informative.
    The poem is example that how we can learn something from every creature.

  2. Malisha says:

    They live light on the land.

  3. wordcloud9 says:

    There are so many remarkable creatures on planet Earth. I love the National Geographic reports on them. It’s good to get to know our neighbors.

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