I’ve come across a few e-mail transcripts of questions sent into our entomology department and I can not resist sharing them. I promise these messages are (and will be) 100% real and unedited. Names have been changed or removed to protect the innocent. Hopefully, I will come across these every once in a while, and keep this as an ongoing series. Submissions of your own are encouraged!
Sorry, this first one is long – but well worth the read.
1 March 2006: 3:23pm.
“I am sending you pictures of a spider I possess that appears to be a Zoropsis spinimana. I need more information about this spider than is what is on the internet. Also, I do not know if this spider is male or female. I have had the spider for 2 weeks. It is still alive-but I am not sure what it eats. I have tried several things. If you are interested in this spider we can talk more-however, I get the feeling that this spider is not of real interest to your department. Please respond to me and examine the pictures. If you do not want me to email you again then, please tell me or I will assume that you did not get my email with the pictures. Both you and Dr. “X” are extremely busy and it appears that you travel a great deal. Probably with more interesting things than this spider. The pictures are below-if you cannot access them then please notify me and I will try “what ever I can do” to get these pictures to you. Thank you for any help you can give me,”
Sincerely, “woman X”
(more after the break)
2 March 2006: 1:50pm
Correct! Your spider is indeed a Zoropsis spinimana. It is a female, because its palps are slender; these would be swollen and dark in males. Where did you get it? We are not interested in having this spider ONLY IF it is from Santa Clara Valley, as we have many specimens from there. If it is from any place else, we are interested in it for our collection. As for feeding it, the spider would probably be happy with a smallish cricket or a largish fly, and don’t forget to give it some water. Many thanks for sending us this information.
reply (and hold onto your hats)
10 March 2006: 4:30pm.
I am very happy that you responded to me!!! I am sorry to say that (Mary) the spider died shortly after you emailed me. She dies holdng my finger while in my palm. This is why I have not resonded to you as soon as I shoud have. I had written to you a long story about my experiences with Mary only to be erase by a wrong click of my computer. I will put down in writing about my expiences with Mary as soon as I am able to overcome my grief.
Before I knew the spider’s gender, I tried to name the spider a name that was both female and male. The name I had chosen was chris. The spider told me that her name was Mary. She told me not with words but in my head (which I can see you think is totally crazy-and probabaly am). I insisted that no spider can be called Mary. It just didn’t fit, even though Chris didn’t fit either. But the spider insisted it’s name was Mary. So I tried to call it Mary, but had a hard time calling the spider Mary because I kept calling it “my spider”. I just could not fathom a spider with a name like Mary. This occurred shortly after I came into possession of the spider and way before I knew it was male or female.
I could not find the spider under “known spider or under unknown spiders”. So I looked in the internet under “San Francisco Bay Area Spiders” and found that you were tracking this spider. If you are interested, I spent a geat deal of time with this spider. I do not know if this was just an unusual spider or a spider that connceted with a human beings. All I know is this spider adores humans. Who would have guessed that a spider could love humans who seek to destroy them, especially when they are in your house or garage where she came to me. I hope very much that she had found a mate and has laid an egg sack near me. I will tell you all about Mary if your are interested for she is like no other spider that I have met. Not only in her exotic egyptian beauty, but in the way she clung to me. She wanted to me with me all the time. In fact she would stay on my finger while I worked on the computer as if she was in total content. There is much more I can tell you, but unless you are interested in a spider besides it’s scientific being, then you will not know its’ spititual being. After my experience with Mary, I now know that we are spiritually connected. That does not mean that you embrace a rattle snake that will kill you or avoid and destroy animals that seek to eat and destroy you. Humans must do what they have to to survive, just as other creatures do.
But this is one time when a spider and a human have found love and affection for another that defies nature. I do not know if it is just this spider or the type of spider. All I know is it is the kindest and most loving spider that I have ever met.
I know in your world everything is objectivity. But when dealing with humans their is Objectivity and Subjectivity. Maybe the specialists, as yourselves possesss all the knowlege possible to humans, can find the subjectivity and not just the objectivity in studing their subjects. Maybe, fing the insect that finds you and then take the time to “get to know it” just like a dog or a cat or any other creature that you became attached to. Answer the question to yourselves “WHY”.
One last thing, Mary found companionship in a beetle that I brought back from the Tahoo National Forest (3000-4500 feet altitude). They not only became friends, but compainions. I found them sleeping together with their little legs entangled. It appeared to me that the beetle was comforting Mary more so than the beetle needed comforting for itself. I can tell you many observations and interactions that I have had with ths spider-there I go again, calling Mary “the spider or my spider”. Mary was not the spider or my sider, she was my teacher and my friend. If you want more information, then please email me back. Also I have a great deal of questions about this spider that I cannot find in books.
I would really like to keep in correspondence until I get my questions answered about Mary Not just subjectivity, but also objectivity. Before I ask you these questions-I wnat you to know she only bite me once and drew blood, while I was trying to get the mutitude of ants off of her. She drew blood, but without any welts or other inflammatory reactions or pain. You cannot say that about other bed bugs, spider (not including brown recluse or black/brown widows), mosquitos, black flies, etc.
My Questions are:
What is its’ life cycle?
Do they eat their Mates?
Why are they here, but in such few numbers?
How long does this spider live?
Why do they like humans?
What exactly do they eat besides insects that eat trash?
What do they eat in their native country?
Why are all ot her insects and worms want to bw near the spider ans
gravitade to it rather than run in the other direction?”
Why does Mary not eat them, but run away from them?
What does she really eat?
Why to young crickets try to play with it?
Why do crickets feel rejected when she does not?
Why do teenage and adult cricket got toward the spider and the sider
wants nothing to do with them.
Why does evey insect or worm I put in for food for the spider. wants to
be with it and is not afraid of it?
Yet, the spider only found consolence with the beetle and me?
Thank you for listening to me. I am in deep grief over loosing Mary-I do not know why-maybe something I was missing in myself. I cannot answer this question and do not know why a creature such as Mary came to my doorstep. I only know, she loves humans and is the most human spider I have ever met!
Please respond, from a person in grief. I have so many questions!!! And more answers to give you in a subjective and objective way. Thank you again for listening!!! Also I am Afraid to put this through spell or grammer check, because that is how I lost my othet messages to you. So forgive my errors in the written English language. The answer to your question is is going to be disappointing is that the spider was found in South San Jose, Amaden Valley near the post office on crown Street, neaest cross street Almaden Expressway.
I still have the dead spider if you are interested, but at lest I was able to get you some pictures.
Thank you again-Please email me! I want to know more about this particular spider and Barnes and Nobles is not helping.
Love “Woman X”
No further correspondence.