I believe a tribute is in order. This week I was witness to a spider besting a fly of proportions at least tenfold to those of itself. It truly was a story of David and Goflyath (did I get away with that one?).
Firstly, I would like to congratulate the spider on its sheer audacity and quick thinking. This spider’s brain is something to behold, and I would go as far to say as better even than Hawking’s. Seriously. I mean, think how many brain cells old Stevey must have in comparison to this ambitious octopod.
The average human brain has 80 billion neurones, if Wikipedia is to be believed. The keen-eyed individual will also note that an entry to Wikianswers seemingly suggests that your intelligence may be dictated by your name. According to them, ‘Each human Brian has 100 billion neurones.’ That’s an extra 20 billion just because you’re called Brian. Handy eh?
Anyway, back to spiders, and I believe we were discussing their dominance over Steven Hawking. Imagine a Spartan style intellectual examination, where thinking channels were stemmed and choked until only a brave and heroic 300 hundred neurones, unafraid of kicking entirely innocent nerve messengers down a seemingly infinite grey spongy well, met and did academic battle with one another, then this fucking bad ass spider would definitely outwit any opponent.
So what of his epic exploits? I sense you pleading,
Initially, as many great take downs begin, this one began with a trap. A web to be precise.
Big deal, a spider makes a web, I hear you mock, but you would be wrong…
This was not a straight up, symmetric, fishing net type web. This spider plays not only by its own rules, but in its own game entirely. It makes the rules. This web- needless to say- had superpowers (Invisibility to name but one). The spider had command of damned enviable spinnerets (for those of you without the luxury of either a knowledge of the morphology of spiders, or a blank google search page at the ready, that’s the bit the web comes from).
Now, as I’m sure you’re aware, no great victory is without its hiccups, and this was to be no exception. Upon being trapped within the invisiweb, the fly decided (entirely legitimately) that it would really rather not be idly twiddling its thumbs in a predator’s web, and would like to give escape just a little go. Considering the dimensions of its captor, it was probably rather embarrassed too. Escape then, was attempted, and among a fly’s tactical repertoire of escape techniques, one tends to be used more than others: thrashing wildly. And so it did.
It started to look as though the flailing of wings and appendages were presenting the fly the upper hand, and the spider decided action ought to be taken. It danced its way down the web, around the fly, circled, and hesitated, almost as though paused in thought.
Tactically this spider had already proved itself astute, but now it demonstrated quick thinking. It lunged on to the fly, smothered its rear legs (which were certainly putting forward the most persuasive argument in favour of departing the web), and bound them together. From the verge of breaking free, the fly had effectively been disabled from the waist down.
This tactic had been so successful for the spider that it methodically moved around the fly, intently ensnaring all of its limbs, both to the web, and to other limbs. The fly was genuinely tangled faster than carefully stored and untouched earphones.
At this stage you would be forgiven for believing that the said spider’s genius was complete, but you would again be wrong.
During the struggle between massive insect and tiny arachnid, massive insect had slipped rather far down tiny arachnid’s web, and was in fact, give or take, half a foot from tiny arachnid’s base camp. It could be understood if the spider at this stage reflected, well it’s ten times my size, maybe I’ll have to break it up and carry it back piece by piece.
But do you really think a spider of such kick-ass, maverick nature would really think this?
Didn’t think so. No, what the spider did think was, naturally at this stage I will construct a winch out web, and using just my astounding strength, I shall reel in the still struggling fly, and kill it from the comfort of my own home.
So that’s what it did, and this blog ends with the death of a fly. Now if you would, I would like you to imagine an edit of this scene in the sob-story style of the X-Factor.
The soft sound of hoppipolla to a black and white cut of the fly slowly struggling less and less, as it surrenders to its impending fate, drowning in the overwhelming flood that is its death. It looks wistfully back on its maggothood, and on the maggots of its own, wondering if it spent too much time perched on horse dung, and regrets all the wasted time stuck on the wrong side of windows, all acted out to the sombre and painful backdrop of a spider one tenth of its size repeatedly biting it in the face.