Say hello to my little friend

Deep in the mysterious depths of the fathomless jungle, there lies a fearsome creature. He goes by the name Argiope aurantia. He is yellow and black.

OK, maybe not so deep, maybe not so mysterious. This is our New Best Friend, the Black and Yellow Garden Spider (bet you didn’t see that one coming) and he lives off our back deck.

Spiders, not unlike insects such as bees, are a popular topic among the 5-year-old set at my house. For the last week, our nightly reading has consisted of I Can Read About Spiders, a book I picked up for my son Christopher at a yard sale years ago.

I brought it out a few months ago when spiders seem to strike terror in Trassie’s young heart. Education, I believed, was the best way to combat his fear of creepy-crawlies.

I am pleased to say this mission has been a success. We inspect all corners of the garage for other new friends. We discuss spiders’ two body parts: the cephalothorax and the abdomen (just ask him: he’ll tell you) as well as the animal family to which the spider belongs — arachnids. Tarantulas fascinate him. He has a great curiosity, mixed with fear and respect, of the brown recluse. We captured, for a day, a little Daring Jumping Spider I found on the wooden blinds a few months ago, and kept him prisoner for a day as we learned all we could about him — including all about his iridescent green jaws.

I don’t have any plans to bring in Argiope aurantia for similar close inspection; field observation, in this case, is close enough.

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