Thursday, September 14, 2006

Black Widow - Part II

Just when I thought I ridded the inside of the pump house of black widows I find another one with two egg sacs this time on the outside just underneath the overhang of the metal roof. As I approached she scurried into one of the nooks formed by the corrugated roof leaving the egg sacs behind. Her cobweb angles downward towards the ground and doesn't amount to much and is not as intricate as other spiders- kinda shabby looking, but it serves its purpose trapping insects for her. When I tapped the tin roof near the egg sacs she rushed to them with "creepy" speed raising the hackles on my neck. I took photo after photo reminding myself just how close I was to much pain.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Insects Beware!

There are many types of plants that thrive in the woods of the Big Thicket, but one of the coolest is the pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea). What appears to be a delicate plant is really a meat-eater in disguise. Of the 5 types of carnivorous plants found in the U.S. (pitcher plant, sundew, bladderwort, butterwort, and venus fly-trap) all but one, the venus fly-trap is found in the Big Thicket. The pitcher plant contains nectar glands which secrete an odiferous nectar that lures its prey into the "pitcher" of the plant.
The attracted insect descends down inside the plant looking for the source of this sweet odor.
Now this is where it gets interesting. On the inside walls of the plant grow tiny hairs that point downwards. This prevents prey from retreating causeing them to trip and fall into the plants "stomach" where they drown and then are broken down by the plant's digestive juices. Sometimes what appears to be delicate can be deadly.

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