Gathan Beaga

the towel spider

Late summer is when various bits of fauna start travelling about the place. Sometimes this isn’t always that welcome.

For example, yesterday morning I was not expecting the rather large thing that fell out of my post-shower towel, bounced off my shoulder and leg, and scuttled away into a dark corner. My scream manly shout of surprise didn’t draw any attention however as the decibel level in the lounge – kids + TV – already far exceeded mine. But after I got dressed and collected the rogue bit of fauna (from the dark corner – oh, the poetry!) in a plastic container I was rewarded with some healthy screams from the girls I showed it to. (Yes, I am twelve.)

It was a male miturgid spider. (un)Fortunately I could not take any decent photos of him – he was large (40mm with legs), fast, and very strong, and kept trying to beat his way out of the container. According to my trusty spider book, these guys are mainly nocturnal, and the males get lost inside the house looking for a mate. Clearly this one had crawled into the nearest dark place come daybreak, which just happened to be my towel.

Miturgid spiderI do have this old picture of the female of the species though. And the one really distinctive thing about these is the bright orange and shiny patches on their palps – those handy eating appendages up close to their mouths (spider knives and forks, as I perhaps erroneously explained to R₂).

So now you know. For example, if you happen to be watching a scary film with the lights down, and a very large and fast spider comes racing across the floor towards your feet, know that he’s just looking for a dark place to hide, and under the couch looks like that place. Don’t squash him (as we used to) but catch him and send him on his way outside to continue his quest for some eight-legged lurrrvve.