A Wookiee by Any Other Name

nursery web spider face super close up

After I chose these photos of this nursery web spider, I felt the sensation of being stopped in my tracks. The reason for that is, each time I see one (and of the handful I have seen, they have mostly been in the same small area at Natural Bridge State Park, home of my little workshop), stopping me in my tracks is exactly what they do. They just seem so beautiful to me: the pattern along their bodies, the contrasting browns, and the sleek poses. I didn’t capture one of those poses in this individual, but I got something theretofore unattained: the face shot.

Now, I ask you, is that the face of beauty? I will assume the general answer, for the non-arachnophiles, goes along these lines: I think you’re confusing the word ugly for the word beauty. Apart from the perfect symmetry, the lovely browns, the beard-like hairs on the chelicerae, and the dopey but endearing gentleness in the eyes (look at the lower four!), I might agree with you.

I suppose I might also be accused of a sort of bias that you could excuse given the venue here (and also because I get to determine what is “playing nice” in my own sandbox), but to take this post on a detour, our spider friend sort of reminds me of the wookie [sic], Chewbacca of Star Wars fame, who while probably not revered as beautiful, is certainly beloved. And what is Chewie besides a metaphorical anthropomorphization? What is the bear-dog-nursery-web-spider-man but not the loyal, ferocious, noble beast in ourselves? This is how we love our “monsters”; we find them in ourselves. Ultimately, what I’m saying is you’re a monster. Or a spider. What I’m saying is, you are beautiful to me.


p.p.s. Maybe I can roll this back and baby-step the bug-empathy with a pointy-green “eared” bug. Eventually, I’ll be telling you all you’re a shiny-helmeted ground beetle. :)

nursery web spider Pisaurina species


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