Monday, February 01, 2010

Spiders and Insects

Spiders have a head and an abdomen with eight legs, while an insect has a head, thorax and abdomen with six legs. My husband has always been fascinated by bugs of all types and knows most everything about them. He has tried to pass this passion on to our children. Daniel caught on at a very early age and he and his father would spend hours in the garden looking at bugs. Daniel has maintained his interest and increased his understanding of these creepy-crawlies. He and his father still show each other bugs they have found. I use the word bugs so that I don’t have to keep differentiating between spiders and insects. When Daniel was in his twos he could tell the difference between a good spider and a bad one. We found this out one night when he came into our room, late at night, to tell us there was a bad bug under his bed. We were sure it was a Wolf Spider; they are very ugly and hairy but harmless. We went to look and sure enough he had a tarantula under his bed. How he knew the difference I will never know. When Lenox didn’t know what the bug was he would give it a name and it sounded very real and are called that to this day. Like one the girls found upside-down in the ash tray and asked daddy what it was, he said, without hesitation, that it was an ash bug and so it became. Lenox has named several bugs here one of his favourites he says reminds him of me. It is the golden splendour beetle. When you touch it, it lets out a shriek, rolls over on its back and puts its legs in the air. I have no idea how that reminds him of me or what the beetle is really called.
I don’t know if they have them everywhere but here we have stink bugs. They look like little beetles and come in three fragrances, pine, lemon and shit. This keeps any predator from eating more than one, so by preserving the species.
I can take bugs or leave them as long as they aren’t in my bedroom. Living in the country it is inevitable that you will get bugs in the house. That is one of the great things about Geckos because they eat the bugs, until the little lizards get so fat that the stickers on their feet don’t work so well and they fall to the floor or onto the bed. They also shit like birds and it is very hard to clean. Geckos usually hide behind pictures or mirrors, and make a little screech noise during mating season. They are considered good luck to have in your house here in Spain. It even used to be the custom to bring a gecko to a house- warming to start the house on the right foot. Whenever I see a spider I ask my son or husband to please release it into the garden, which they do while having a long discussion on the wonders of the thing. My husband has a thing about mothers. A mother spider will carry hundreds of babies on her back until they are ready to go out on their own. Lenox has a strong feeling that they should be left alone until such time but all I can think about are the hundreds of new spiders I will have in my room.
Our daughter, Amber, suffers from severe arachnophobia. If she sees a spider, she becomes hysterical, can’t breath and has an instant panic attack. Insects don’t bother her so much. Our house is so big that the children lived on one side and we live on the other. One night she saw a spider. It was in her room, in the corner of the ceiling and she had a panic attack. She was screaming for an hour or so and couldn’t breathe. We couldn’t hear her. Finally she screwed up the courage to slide passed the spider and run to our room for comfort. Before we could comfort her we had to slap her a few time to get her to breathe and then came the cuddles. She said she had been screaming and crying for hours and why hadn’t we come to rescue her. We just hadn’t heard her. Our other daughter Jessica can take them or leave them. They don’t bother her but she has no real interest in them. She will however gladly move one outside for you.
When we first lived here there were always hundreds of different bugs hanging around the front door by the light at night. Lenox would spend ages examining each one. Now they have mostly all gone away and we just have flies and mosquitoes.
Scorpions are still about in abundance and they belong to the spider family or arachnids. They can give you a very nasty sting. Most people I know here have had that experience once or twice. You actually are a bit of an outcast if you are a country person and haven’t had your scorpion sting yet.
Don't worry about this beetle, he's from the Amazon. Cute, isn't he?

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