The last Jorogumo

December 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
Autumn Yin YangAutumn Yin Yang
Sorry, I know some people don't like spiders,
but I think this photo is beautiful and worth sharing.
It doesn't really need explaining, but here is the story anyway.
After I saw the black frog last week, I kept looking around and found this spider, sitting motionless in her web. Thinking it would probably be the last Joro spider that I would see this year, and liking the colours that the background autumn trees created, I took some photos of it. I finished, said goodbye and moved on. When I returned past the spot again a few minutes later, this gingko leaf was hanging in the web! 

Joro spiders are big spiders and build strong webs between trees or buildings. Despite their vivid colours they are pretty harmless and have been well loved in Japan since ancient times. They go mostly unnoticed in the summer, but as Autumn nears and they have grown in size they seem to suddenly be everywhere, and in some places it is hard to journey a few metres without walking into a joro spider web. 

Joro spiders ジョロウグモ don't have an English name and are usually just referred to by their scientific name (Nephila Clavata). In Autumn they take advantage of the steady supply of dragon flies to fatten up on, and after mating and laying eggs they die off and are usually all gone before the leaves change colour. At the top of the web in the above photo, you can see all the finished meals that the spider has eaten over the last few months.

If you believe in folklore then beware, because Joro spiders are very very dangerous, but only if you are a man! To quote wikipedia,
"Jorōgumo is a legendary creature in Japanese folklore. A Jorōgumo is a spider which can change its appearance into that of a beautiful woman. She attracts men, and once a man has been trapped as a result of her seduction, he will be tied up and eaten by her!"
Well, I sure was seduced by her beauty. The whole scene of the gingko leaf hanging in her web as she lived out her last few days of her life was so beautiful don't you think?

Here are a couple more photos of Joro spiders, these ones at the end of summer.
Funky socks don't you think?
Joro SpiderJoro Spider
Spider in ForestSpider in Forest

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