29 December, 2009

Waiting ... for Lunch OR Murder Most Foul!

A Victorian melodrama in three acts

(This was such fun to write!
 First posted on 24th August.)

Act 1. Waiting …

Meet the Assassin – a flower/crab spider Thomisus sp., dressed in his sombre business suit. Company policy allows only three colours - yellow, pink, or white (takes the spider only 2 days to change his suit, for the next “client”).
Well, they must appear sombre to the victims. Why else would Lunch visit a flamboyant forget-me-not blue table, with a vehement yellow Assassin waiting? His knife and fork raised in readiness, gun at the ready, dagger drawn? They do say bees see colours differently to us. There are nectar guides visible to bees in the ultraviolet part of the colour spectrum – so there are two colours, bee violet and bee purple, which we are unable to see (Wikipedia).

Act 2. … for Lunch

Meet Lunch, also known as Eristalinus taeniops. who has dropped in for a spot of lunch – pollen and nectar. A gentle vegetarian in a cruel world (like me). Perhaps his colour vision is confused by peering through built in Venetian blinds. There is definitely something disconcerting and weird about those eyes, like goats’ eyes. They are not “normal, like us”. According to our insect book he is a hover fly “stocky, honey-bee mimic with black-barred eyes. His lunch is a “flat white or yellow flower”. Italian or Thai?
Field guide to insects of South Africa, by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths, Alan Weaving. New edition 2004. Published by Struik
And since it is a small world – I still have some small succulents growing in my garden, which were given to me by Mike Picker. 

Act 3. Murder Most Foul!

Avert your eyes children. There are blood and guts for lunch. The blood and guts of Lunch. If the first Assassin does not succeed, send in the second. The Masked Crab Spider.
Synema sp. “Cream abdomen adorned with what looks like a brown skull. This colouration affords a good camouflage in vegetation. It hides amongst the vegetation and dashes out to surprise an unsuspecting insect”.
From the Iziko Museums website www.biodiversityexplorer.org/arachnids
This Assassin has garnished his business suit. Elton John style? Lime green shirt and trousers, the corporate cream jacket, with a “skull” emblazoned on it. Hey, you said we had to wear white (or yellow, or pink)! You can see Lunch has still got his proboscis out. Do you mind! I’m eating. But, sadly, children, he was eaten. And only the spider lives, happily, ever after.

The End.

PS My favourite comment. From wiseacre ... back in August
You convinced me - I'm never going to lunch with Elton John


  1. I adore spiders, but they do have their horrific tendencies, don't they? I keep hoping to get another garden spider web around for me to toss some grasshoppers to.

  2. Great post and fantastic pictures! Val

  3. Great story. Full of info and gruesome ideas!

  4. How poetic and dark -I love it!

  5. You convinced me - I'm never going to lunch with Elton John

  6. Beautiful photos and cleverly written narrative Diana! I must confess to having a great aversion towards arachnids of most sorts. Grandaddy Long Legs are perhaps the only exception. The others give me chills! One must admire their tailor however. Carol

  7. enjoyed your post very much! your descriptions are marvelous...

  8. All I can say about your crab / flower spider is 'Yuch'. (And I'm not usually an anti-spider person. We have several over-wintering in our house.)

    The eyes of the hover fly. I'm not clear whether all hover flies have stripey eyes or whether it is just this variety. I don't think I'd be able to see them in 'real' life so I think I'll ask my next door neighbour, Lucy, to take some photos of them when next they appear in my garden. Aren't digital photos wonderful? They tend not to move around as much as insects (do).


  9. Ah Esther - lies, damned lies, and statistics. Followed by digital photographs. Why does the camera see one thing, and my eye saw quite another?

  10. Diana, these photos are awesome! Thank you for your comment to my Roses and Recollection post. You have a brilliant idea about posting the text before photographs. I have updated my post with your idea. Wishing you a Very Happy 2010!

  11. Your 3 act play was very fun to read, and I really like the crab spiders. I used to be afraid of spiders, then I took a class on them, and learned so many great things that I can't bear to squish them anymore. They still startle me in the garden though! Kathy

  12. Loved your post. A theme that could be expanded on in any garden - the starlings coming at the crack of dawn to prey on the slugs, the ladybugs feasting on the aphids, and so on. And your photos really do it justice.

  13. 'Guardian' angel - I go with reverence for all life. Just draw the line at mosquitoes, in the house. I couldn't bear to squish a living spider!


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

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