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Queen of Spinners
The magnificent spider (Dicrostichus magnificus), also called "The queen of spinners," has elaborated on the methods employed by the death's head spider. The lure is apparently similar, and the prey are again moths. The spider, however, literally angles for her prey. Sluggish by day, resting upon some used branch, the spider fisherwomax for it is always a female, awaits the coming of dusk. With the darkness or by the light of the moon, she spins a short thread tipped with a droplet about the size of a pin's head of highly adhesive matter; this she dangles from the foot of one of her second pair of legs. Again the moth, mysteriously drawn to its doom, appears and circles the waiting spider. But, now there is no placid waiting by the spider for its prey to enter her embrace. She becomes galvanized into activity, and whirls the droplet-tipped thread so rapidly that it becomes an indistinct blur. The droplet hits the moth, which immediately be-comes fast, and is hauled in and bitten by the successful angler. If the spider is hungry, the captive is promptly eaten; or it may be suspended in a neat wrap-ping from some convenient twig until required. In any case, another line is prepared and fishing continues, for the night is short, and moths of the kind preferred are not always on the wing.
The spider truly deserves the name of "magnificent," for she is milky-white in color with two raised bosses of bright yellow or pale orange upon her abdomen, while her cephalothorax bears .a coronet of orange. Her mate is an almost microscopic atom of life; he has only recently been discovered.
It is not only as an angler that the magnificent spider deserves fame, but also for her pre-natal care of her young. Her egg-sacs, and there may be a bunch of up to a dozen of them, are spindle-shaped and woven of a pale creamy-buff silk, which darkens with age and exposure to the weather. The external wrapping is very densely woven and has an almost papery texture. This is practically waterproof, and forms an all-weather covering. On opening the sac,' the spindle is found to be filled with a soft mass of fluffy, whitish or creamy silk which forms an insulated eiderdown for the rounded receptacle lying in its centre and containing the eggs. The whole is an extremely intricate piece of weaving, and it is for this that she has gained the title of "Queen of Spinners." The pale spiderlings emerge through holes cut in the outer silken casing.
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