I've been asked: why the interest in insects and spiders? The answer is the same as Edmund Hillary's comment on climbing Mt. Everest: because they're there. We live in the suburbs of Boston. We don't have duck-billed platypuses and we don't have Great White Sharks facing off against orcas. But we do have a plethora of insects and spiders, all of them utterly bizarre and alien. Each species is the result of 4 billion years of evolution. Each species is the best in the world at some subset of tasks, or it would not have evolved. Each individual struggles every day to eat and mate and not be eaten. How could this not be interesting? (Plus, it became clear we were faced with a choice: either clean the house more often, or learn to appreciate the spiders.)
Anyway, as I turned on the light in our office downstairs, I noticed a spider on the floor. So I did what anyone would have done and went and got the camera. It looked at first like a wolf spider, but on further observation it's probably Tegenaria domestica, from the order Agelenidae (funnel web spiders).
This is when another actor entered the stage. Creeping out from a crack in the wall, just a couple of centimeters away, was a millipede. It was clear things were about to get interesting, so I responded by getting flustered and forgetting how to take pictures. Here's one after the millipede climbed all the way out -- and blithely crawled towards the spider.
The funnel web spider seemed to be facing away from the crack in the wall, or I would have believed that it was actually lying in wait. Still, when it noticed the nice juicy millipede a body length away, it knew exactly what to do.
Agelenids, like nearly all other spiders, are predators.
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