Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Creature Feature:...Gold Skulltula?

Confession: I am taking my sweet, sweet time with Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the 3DS. Almost to the end of the Shadow Temple, which is...I want to say the second to last. Then there will be mini-quests to do, simply because the game is set in a world almost as awesome as ours.

Just as a reminder, here's a real, live Gold Skulltula:

Kidding. The Gold Skulltulas in Zelda were clearly based off of Argiope savignyi. They can be found from Mexico to Bolivia. They are not necessarily gold; the golden female above was one of several color variations.  For those curious about the generic name, "Savigny" happened to be the last name of Marie Jules Cesar Savigny, the first person to describe the genus Argiope. He was a guy, by the way.

For those of you who do not know spiders, they can be classified in terms of how they weave their webs. Argiope spiders are particularly creative orb-weavers. A. savignyi can weave a number of patterns into its orb web. Among them are a cross-shape and disc-shape. Sometimes, these designs are combined into a super-pattern. The resulting web, regardless of pattern, is very sturdy...which results in one of the few things this spider is known for:

Yes, that is a bat in that spiderweb. Yes, the spider is being a vampire and slowly sucking out its inner juices. Gold Skulltul- I mean A. savignyi is one of the few invertebrate predators of bats. Specifically, they feed on the proboscis bat (Rhynchonycteris naso) - a strange critter in and of itself. These aren't even unhealthy bats - just unlucky bats who don't see the Argiope's web. They are successfully entangled within two hours. Again, pick your favorite; some wouldn't be rooting for the spider or the bat in this instance.

As a friendly reminder: Wild A. savignyi do not grant you magical items every time you kill ten of them. Do not carry a hookshot around in preparation. If you happen to think you have a hookshot at your belt, by the way, please see a therapist or look for "Zelda Addicts Anonymous."

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