Love and Bark

Today I got some images of a gorgeous sunset over Thanda. The word Thanda means love in the Zulu language. A very fitting name for a beautiful place.

And while I was driving through some over-grown areas I heard a slight impact on the seat next to me. When I looked I saw, what I first thought was, a small piece of bark of a tree. But when I looked more closely it was a small spider (approx. 2cm or 3/4″) in size. This species is called Darwin’s Bark Spider. It looks exactly like a piece of bark when it pulls its legs in. I took a small stick, let it climb onto the stick and put it back into a tree. The picture below is of a second bark spider I saw later in the day hanging in its web.

More about the Bark Spider:

Darwin’s Bark Spider (Caerostris darwini) is an orb-weaver spider. The species was named in honor of the naturalist Charles Darwin, with the description being prepared precisely 150 years after the publication of The Origin of Species.

Darwin’s Bark spider occurs in Madagascar and some parts of South Africa. It is the architect of the largest web in the world. Webs are woven across entire rivers and span up to 30 square feet.

Its silk is the toughest biological material ever studied, over ten times tougher than a similarly-sized piece of Kevlar.