Arachnography: A photo essay from Dandeli

As a child they were the stuff of nightmares. My spider sense still tingles, but no longer in fear

I remember having always kept my distance from Arachnids as a child. Quite often have tarantulas turned up in the toilet, and quite often have I persuaded my parents to smash them with a broom. A few have scampered over my body while I was asleep, and many have invaded my nightmares. But since I turned to photography and nature watching, I have made my peace with spiders, and yet retained my curiosity about them. Including those that intruded my personal space.
Spiders to most are justifiably creepy. They crawl, spin webs and drink their victims' juices...
They were everywhere when we went out for a stroll in the forests of Dandeli two weeks ago. And all kinds of them. There were Giant Wood Spiders (Nephilia maculata) and the handsome Black Wood Spiders (Nephilia kuhili), and a couple of (suspected) Leucauge spiders, and several unidentified ones. Mostly, I enjoyed watching and photographing those amazing Giant and Black Wood Spiders, and here is what I saw.
Lady Blackwood?
Giant Wood Spider enjoys the quiet of a misty morning
The Lady and her tramp (the tiny black speck to the right is Mr Giant Wood Spider). Talk about equality for women...
Possibly a Leucauge spider - can someone confirm?
The underside of a Giant Wood Spider. Is the red funnel a vent?
Another Leucauge spider performing a high wire walk
Topsy turvy
End of show. That's all, folks!

Text and photos by Sandeep Somasekharan