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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

O’Leary meets an intelligent spider ...

Yesterday, I was digging holes in my cucumber hill.

The trowel unearthed one of those mid-size grey spiders, common in the Toronto area.

The spider did not run away, but sat at the edge of the hole, gesticulating.

I picked the spider up with the trowel, on a divot of earth, and set it near the fence, thinking it would escape behind the fence.

But it did not escape; it stayed near the divot and continued to gesticulate.

I looked more closely at the hole and, sure enough, near the middle lay a little white ball of spider silk, a spider’s egg case.

I tossed the egg case in the spider’s direction, and she immediately grabbed it and trotted off behind the fence.

Incidents like this convince me that the intelligence of invertebrates is often underrated by traditional hierarchies of life forms.

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