Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The common name of Epeira diadema of Europe, from its being found in great numbers in gardens, especially in autumn, where it stretches its beautiful geometric webs perpendicularly from branch to branch, remaining in the center with its head downward waiting for its prey. The web of this spider is composed of two different kinds of threads: the radiating and supporting threads are strong and of simple texture; the fine spiral thread which divides the web into a series of steps, decreasing in breadth toward the center, is studded with a vast number of little globules, which give to the web its peculiar adhesiveness. The dorsal surface of the abdomen of this spider is marked with a triple yellow cross, whence the name cross-spider. It is also sometimes called
diadem-spider. See cut under cross-spider.
“What is more interesting than to see a great yellow garden-spider hanging head downward in the centre of his web, when we approach too closely, instead of deserting his snare, set it vibrating back and forth so rapidly that he becomes a mere blur; a more certain method of escaping the onslaught of a bird than if he ran to the shelter of a leaf.”
“In the centre was a circular arrangement of desks, and in the midst of these an elderly man, like a garden-spider in his web; but it was his duty to feed, not devour, the human flies who sat or walked to and fro with literary meat gathered from all over the world.”
“An elderly man like a garden-spider -- Into the bowels of the earth -- The inner luminousness of genius -- Isolated and tragic situation -- "Ate ever man such a morsel before!”
“For you are a garden-spider, an abominable, dumpy, old garden-spider, for whom a web, such as Hodge is, is much too fine and much too elegant.”
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